Pirelli Scorpion Tyres Ready to Attack Argentine Gravel
Milan, 20 March 2008 - Following the rocks and hard surfaces of the Rally Mexico nearly a month ago, Pirelli's Scorpion tyres will now have to deal with an equally demanding event: this time run on soft and sometimes sandy gravel. Adding to the challenge will be a number of spectacular crests, watersplashes, and descents. Just as was the case in Mexico, the teams will use the hard compound Scorpion tyre - in accordance with the latest FIA regulations, as formulated with the consent of all the manufacturers.
"This choice of this tyre for the event is not without its drawbacks," observed Pirelli's Rally Manager Mario Isola. "But the main thing is that all the drivers are in the same situation, with the same tyres in the same stage and weather conditions. It's important to point out that the decision to run the hard tyre in Argentina was approved by all the manufacturers and the FIA's technical department (along with Pirelli's engineers) back in November last year, as part of the plan to use all the different types of rubber that was agreed by everybody."
With the championship now more open than ever - Hirvonen (Ford) leads by just one point from Loeb (Citroen) and five points from his team mate Latvala - Argentina has always been a very strong event for Pirelli. The very first World Championship Rally Argentina, run back in 1980, was won on the Italian rubber by the the Fiat 131 Abarth crew of Rohrl and Geistdorfer - which would go on to claim the world title in the same year. Carlos Reutemann, who starred for Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams in Formula 1, also made his rally debut in 1980 at the wheel of a 131 Abarth-Pirelli, finishing third on the Rally Argentina.
According to Mario Isola, "this event presents the tyres with a considerable challenge, thanks to the soft and medium-soft surfaces - which are often sandy - and the cool temperatures on some of the stages that are nearly 2000 metres high. There's even a risk of finding some snow, as has occasionally been the case in the past. Whoever is able to exploit the Scorpion tyres best in all the different conditions, whilst avoiding the sharp rocks by the side of the road, will be in a strong position to make the difference over their rivals."
The Rally Argentina weekend will be an extremely busy one for Pirelli's Motorsport department. As well as the fourth round of the FIA WRC, Pirelli's technicians will be at Monza for the first round of the 2008 Ferrari Challenge Italy and Europe and at Homestead for the Miami Grand Prix, second round of the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Pirelli will be the exclusive supplier of PZero rubber for every competitor on both the Ferrari Challenge and Grand Am series.