|Bertelli flew high with Pirelli in Sardinia
Lorenzo Bertelli has taken his maiden victory in WRC 2 with a hugely impressive performance in his Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Car, coming home more than two minutes clear of his closest rival on Rally Italia Sardegna.
In doing so, the rising Italian star now leads the WRC 2 standings, one place ahead of Yuriy Protasov, who was using Pirelli tyres on his Fiesta RRC for the first time. The Ukrainian finished the demanding gravel event, based in Alghero, in third place in WRC 2: a podium on his Pirelli debut.
While Bertelli celebrated his first WRC 2 triumph, there was a strong showing from Henning Solberg in the main World Rally Car class, with the Pirelli-equipped Norwegian taking seventh place in his Fiesta RS WRC to extend his 100 per cent finishing record in the world championship this season. Elsewhere, Max Rendina was third in the WRC 2 Production classification and continues to top the showroom category in his Mitsubishi Lancer.
Pirelli supplied its hard compound Scorpion XR5 tyres for the warm and dry conditions but also made available its softer Scorpion XR7 option in the event of damp surfaces and cooler temperatures. The new XR is a symmetrical (non-directional) tyre, which makes each tyre interchangeable on either side of the car: a key advantage when it comes to strategy on an island where Pirelli carried out much of its tyre development due to the demanding nature of the narrow, rock-lined roads.
And the 10th anniversary of Italy’s round of the world championship to take place in Sardinia lived up to the event’s reputation as being one of the most demanding on the calendar, with punishing stages and searing temperatures adding to the challenge. The regulations for this year also permit just four new tyres per tyre change, with exceptions put in place for certain very rough events such as Sardinia, but Pirelli still managed to complete the event with just four tyres per change as per the original regulation: underlining the strength of the product.
“It couldn't be a better feeling, it’s fantastic
,” said Bertelli. “We showed our pace earlier in this rally because today was just about driving through the stages to get to the finish. In the future we can push all the time but I wanted to finish first on my home rally and it’s really amazing. I’m leading the championship now, which is fantastic, but there is a long way to go this season and we will have to see what can happen in the future. Today I’m very happy and I would like to say thank you to Pirelli. The engineers have done a very good job and the tyres performed very well. It was my dream to win an event and now we have got there. I’m happy because we won at a good pace, not just because of problems for the other guys
Matteo Braga, Pirelli’s senior WRC tyre engineer, acknowledged Bertelli’s achievements but said the process of ongoing improvement will continue. “Lorenzo Bertelli drove very well and we are very pleased for him that he won WRC 2 on his home event and is now leading the championship. Today he had to defend his advantage, but he still managed to set some very quick times, against extremely fast drivers with plenty of experience. Henning also did a very good job as a privateer driver in a World Rally Car and we were very pleased that he was in a fight with many of his rivals, setting lots of top 10 stage times. The Monte Lerno stage was 59.13 kilometres and the longest in the WRC this year. At the finish of the stage there was 60 per cent tread left in Henning’s tyres, which is a very good result after such a long stage
Pirelli also enjoyed success in the national event in Sardinia with Paolo Andreucci finishing third to keep Peugeot at the top of the Italian manufacturers’ championship standings, while Renato Travaglia took the Italian Gravel Trophy spoils.
The next round of the WRC is Rally Poland, which uses high-speed soft and sandy stages in Poland and neighbouring Lithuania from June 26-29. Pirelli competed on the event when it last counted for the world championship in 2009 under its three-year agreement with the FIA as the WRC’s exclusive tyre supplier.
Last season, the rally was a round of the European championship and Kajetan Kajetanowicz took victory for Pirelli in a Fiesta R5, the first in the ERC for the new-generation car.
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