Pirelli Sottozero Tyres ready for the Challenge of Swedish Rally

The only snow event of this year's FIA World Rally Championship gets underway from Karlstad on February 7. The teams will be able to benefit from the new Sottozero studded tyres, designed in a quite similar way to Pirelli's normal winter tyres for road cars. Sweden is also the opening round of 2008 Production Car World Championship (PWRC), for Group N vehicles.
Milan, 4 February 2008 - The Swedish Rally, which gets underway from Karlstad on Thursday, is one of the most spectacular and eagerly awaited events of the World Championship - as well as being the only snow rally scheduled for this year's series. For this very specialized second round of the championship, Pirelli has brought along the all-new Sottozero: a tyre that is available with only one type of tread pattern, construction, compound, and studs. The size of the new tyre is 145/85 R16.
Amongst the many variables of this challenging event - where the crews have to keep pushing at a hectic pace - is the changing surface condition. So far there has been precious little snow in the area where the rally runs, the Värmland of central Sweden. This means that it is hard to tell now just how much of the route will be properly snowy. Nonetheless, the organizers have been preparing for this for some time, by damping down several of the special stages with water in order to produce a consistent layer of ice.

The Pirelli Sottozero tyres (equipped with 2cm - long studs that protrude 7mm out of the tyre, inserted during the vulcanization process rather than afterwards) are obviously not designed for racing on gravel, but the local weather forecasts for Thursday predict enough snow and ice to make this year's Swedish Rally another thrilling event.

Pirelli's Rally Manager, Mario Isola, commented: "This is quite a specific tyre, which has been recently tested by all the factory teams in the championship - who appreciated the traction and grip that it provided. Naturally, the more it snows the more the drivers will be able to use the Pirelli Sottozero tyres to maximum effect. We're not expecting to see a lot of punctures, because just like the road-going product, these tyres are very strong and reliable."

The Swedish Rally is also the opening round of the FIA Production Car Championship (PWRC), to which Pirelli is also the official tyre supplier.