Lorenzo Bertelli took full advantage of the grip and durability of his Pirelli Scorpion tyres to edge closer to the lead of the WRC 2 title standings with a strong showing on Rally Argentina (May 8-11), which again lived up to its reputation as being one of the toughest rounds of the World Rally Championship season.
Driving a Ford Fiesta RRC on the soft compound version of Pirelli’s Scorpion tyre, the promising Italian claimed three stage wins on his way to fourth in the category. He leaves South America second in the WRC 2 standings, four points behind leader Yuriy Protasov.
Recent heavy rain, coupled with more showers during the course of the event, made for difficult conditions on the all-gravel stages, which ranged from damp in places to mud-coated in others.
Pirelli equipped Bertelli and co-driver Mitia Dotta with its soft compound Scorpion XR7 tyre for the damp conditions and senior company engineer Matteo Braga was more than satisfied with how the tyres performed on the 14-stage event, which totalled 405.10 competitive kilometres.
“We were very pleased with the performance of Lorenzo Bertelli,” said Braga. “He did very well by winning stages and by always being competitive against his main rivals in the championship. Our soft compound tyre has been working well. Thanks to the tread pattern being solid the compound has been able to last longer when the stages dried and to offer a better level of grip in humid and wet conditions because of its softer nature. Obviously when it’s muddy, like it was on the final day, it’s very difficult for everybody and the drivers just try to take the car to the end.”
Bertelli’s impressive performance in Argentina followed on from Paolo Andreucci’s eighth victory on Rally Targa Florio, a round of the Italian championship, which concluded in Sicily on Saturday. Driving an R5-specification Peugeot 208T16, Andreucci was fastest on 10 of 16 asphalt stages on Pirelli’s new RX7B tyre to claim a popular win.
Meanwhile, Max Rendina was denied a third consecutive WRC 2 Production triumph after he failed to complete Saturday’s leg in Argentina when he damaged his Mitsubishi Lancer’s suspension striking a rock on stage nine. However, he fought back on Sunday to finish fifth in class to maintain his title advantage.
The World Rally Championship resumes on Rally Italia Sardegna from June 5-8.
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