The World Rally Championship returns to asphalt this weekend for the first time since Monte Carlo in January – with Pirelli supplying the latest compounds in the new RK family of tyres, which are well equipped to cope with the diverse demands of Rallye Deutschland.
Germany’s round of the World Rally Championship was originally formed of three rallies rolled into one: these origins show in the varied nature of all the stages. Added to the notoriously unpredictable weather that is typical of northern Germany at this time of year, this means that the tyres face one of the most challenging and changeable events of the season.
Pirelli’s tyres have enabled customer teams to consistently fight at the front of the field this year, and the Italian firm’s charge will be led once more by former grand prix driver Robert Kubica. As usual, Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli – both points-scorers on the last round in Finland – will also be driving the latest version of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, while Prokop is joined by his occasional team mate Jaroslav Melicharek. Once more, Pirelli will be supplying some of the top drivers in the WRC2 series: the stepping-stone to the top class.
The Pirelli P Zero RKH hard compound has been chosen as the main tyre for Germany, with the Pirelli P Zero RKS soft as the option (for shorter, cooler or wet stages). These cutting-edge asphalt rally tyres will have to cope with tight and twisty vineyard roads, together with the broken and rough concrete of the Baumholder military ranges, as well as more fast and open asphalt on the final day of the event.
Both tyres use exactly the same tread pattern for dry and wet conditions, as per the latest regulations. In total, there are 374.43 competitive kilometres split over 21 special stages on Rallye Deutschland, with the rally starting and finishing in the university city of Trier, alongside the Mosel River. Under the latest WRC regulations, opportunities for tyre changes are limited, meaning that the compounds have to be durable as well as quick and puncture-resistant: a key factor when sharp stones are dragged onto the road during the second run through stages.
This weekend will be another very busy one for Pirelli: just 100 kilometres away from Rallye Deutschland, the Italian firm will be equipping Formula One, GP2 and GP3 during the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
Leading Pirelli drivers in Germany:
Robert Kubica, Martin Prokop, Jaroslav Melicharek and Lorenzo Bertelli will represent Pirelli in the leading WRC1 class, with Englishman Graham Coffey also joining the top category in Finland. In the WRC2 category, former European Rally Champion Armin Kremer is starring in a new Skoda Fabia R5: very much the car of the moment. Yuriy Protasov, WRC2 winner in Sardinia, is taking part in the rally to gain more asphalt experience but is not registered for WRC2 points in Germany.
14 Robert Kubica/Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
21 Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
22 Jaroslav Melicharek/Erik Melicharek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Lorenzo Granai (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
33 Max Rendina/Emanuele Inglesi (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10)
34 Quentin Giordano/Valentin Sarreaud (Citroen DS3 RRC)
40 Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer (Skoda Fabia R5)
43 Julien Maurin/Nicolas Klinger (Ford Fiesta RRC)
48 Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian (Skoda Fabia R5)
78 Yuriy Protasov/Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta R5)
79 Graham Coffey/Jenny Gabler (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
83 Hermann Gassner/Karin Thannhauser (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10)
116 Carsten Mohe/Alexander Hirsch (Renault Clio R3T)
121 Henk Vossen/Eddy Smeets (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10)
The tyres available and the rules:
The WRC1 drivers are allowed 32 tyres for the whole rally under the latest regulations (four tyres per tyre change opportunity, plus four spares). They can choose from 32 of the first choice RKH and 22 of the option RKS. The RK pattern, for dry and wet asphalt, was introduced when Pirelli returned to the World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo last year, but has since seen a number of evolutions – and this will be the first time that the current compounds will be seen in action. The same tyres will be used for the remaining asphalt rounds of the season: Spain and Corsica. For WRC2, the allocation is 30 RKH and 20 RKS.
Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli product manager: “Germany is undoubtedly one of the most multi-faceted and complex asphalt rallies we face anywhere in the world, so it will be a stern baptism for our latest hard and soft compound RK tyres. In line with the philosophy of road car products, we are limited to one pattern that has to work well both in wet and dry conditions. The RK tyres have proved their versatility before, most notably on their only previous appearance this year in Monte Carlo, where Robert Kubica used them to set some astonishingly fast stage times. On a sealed surface that is slightly more familiar to him through his circuit racing experience, Robert should once again be able to demonstrate this weekend that Pirelli tyres can once again help a privateer to be competitive against the factory entries. Lorenzo Bertelli scored his first world championship points in Finland, and he too will be looking to build on that success in order to continue his points-scoring run.”
For further information please contact:
Anthony Peacock • +44 7765 896 930 • firstname.lastname@example.org