Pirelli tyres rise to FIA GT challenge in Slovakia
Pirelli’s P Zero race tyres performed faultlessly in sweltering conditions at the Slovakia Ring last weekend as the Pro-Am entry of Andreas Simonsen and Sergri Afanasiev took a deserved overall victory at the fourth round of the FIA GT series. Pirelli has highlighted its commitment to endurance racing in 2013 by agreeing terms to supply its racing tyres to both the six-round FIA GT Series and the five-round Blancpain Endurance Series for a minimum of three years. Using the latest production processes modelled on its involvement in Formula One, Pirelli has produced tyres that are tailor-made for a plethora of supercars that compete in FIA GT. Nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb took a memorable victory on Sunday’s qualifying stage in the McLaren MP4-12C but was involved in an incident on lap one of the main race, which resulted in an early retirement. Andreas Simonsen escaped the first corner incident to place second in the early running but when Stephane Ortelli was penalised after rolling from the front position, Simonsen moved up into first place in the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. Sergei Afanasiev took over from his team-mate just before the pit window closed and the young Russian completed a solid final 25-minute stint to take the chequered flag. “There was pressure coming from outside and inside during this race because I knew that we were not fast enough on the circuit at the beginning of the weekend,” explained HTP Gravity Charouz’s Afanasiev following the race. “There was pressure coming from outside and inside during this race because I knew that we were not fast enough on the circuit at the beginning of the weekend but during the last four laps I did improve. We are now leading the series points but there is a long way to go. We still have two races to go and the last one is a city race (Baku) so it is going to be a gamble.” The Gentlemen’s Trophy class was won by the AF Corse of Claudio Sdanewitsch and Michele Rugolo. The pair sealed an impressive double victory after their qualifying race success to round off a perfect debut weekend in the FIA GT Series. “From a tyre point of view, everything went very well last weekend,” explained Pirelli’s senior engineer, Matteo Braga “We had high ambient and track temperatures but the drivers were able to push to the limit in both qualifying and during the race. The Slovakia Ring is a fast circuit with a challenging flat out section at the start and unfortunately it caught out three drivers on the main race. It is also very aggressive on the tyres with kerbs that can cause cuts on the sidewalls and some sharp stones at the edge of the track. However, once again the P Zero tyres were used across a wide variety of machinery including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, Nissan and Mercedes and maintained a strong level of performance throughout the weekend.” The penultimate round of this year’s 2013 FIA GT Series will take place at Navarra from 28-29 September before the season-closing finale at the Baku World Challenge on 18-20 October. For further information on Pirelli, please contact Anthony Peacock on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 7765 896 930.