RALLY BELGIUM, DIRTY ASPHALT AND COBBLESTONES THE MOST TREACHEROUS CHALLENGES ON THE ROADS OF YPRES
The narrow, fast roads of the Flemish countryside present a variety of conditions and inconstant grip
P Zero Hard the first choice. Wet-weather tyres also available
Testoni: "Wide range of tyre strategy possibilities for the drivers, who will have to be especially careful on the second passages"
After five stages on gravel, the World Rally Championship returns to asphalt in Belgium, where the narrow and fast roads of the Flemish countryside will provide the backdrop for the ninth round of the season. Returning to its traditional four-day format, the Ypres Rally has no shortage of new features compared to 2021, the year the Belgian event made its debut in the world championship, such as Friday's opening special stage, Vleteren, and the Kemmelberg cobbled stage, which has been upgraded to a Power Stage. In total, the race includes 20 special stages on ten routes to be completed twice, totalling 281.58 kilometres.
WHY TYRES MATTER IN BELGIUM
The roads around Ypres (all stages are within a 25-kilometre radius of the town) have an average slippery asphalt, made even more treacherous by debris and any mud that the cars carry onto the road after cornering. Such conditions become even more challenging in the event of rain, always lurking in Belgium. The tyres are required to ensure maximum grip and optimum performance in conditions that can change even within the same test. The busiest day is Saturday when the longest stage of the rally will be run (over 133 km) with SS Hollebeke closing both sections, which is the longest of the event (22.32 km).
For this race:
P Zero RA WRC HA, a hard compound suitable for the most abrasive surfaces and longest stages, is the prime.
P Zero RA WRC SA, a soft compound for the slippery and wet surfaces, is the option.
Cinturato RWB, is the choice in heavy rain and very wet surfaces.
Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager: "The Belgian Rally, thanks also to the unpredictability of the weather and the variety of conditions, offers many possibilities of strategy and tyre choice to the teams. A considerable worsening of conditions is to be expected on the second passages, as the asphalt surface tends to get dirtier and dirtier car after car. The cobblestones, well known to cyclists the world over, present an additional challenge in a couple of stages, especially in wet or even damp conditions. The tyres will also be put under stress by some sharp bends, often preceded by heavy braking".
THE PIRELLI TYRES IN BELGIUM
Pirelli brings 750 tyres for the Rally1 cars to Belgium. The allocations for the top category are:
- 28 tyres for the P Zero RA WRC HA
- 22 for the P Zero RA WRC SA
- 12 for the Cinturato RWBs
Each Rally1 car can fit a total of up to 28 tyres throughout the race, including the 4 for the shakedown, the compound of which is the choice of each crew.
Pirelli also supplies 2300 tyres to the other 4WD categories, which can use up to a maximum of 26 tyres per car, including the shakedown. The allocations for each crew are:
- 26 P Zero RA5
- 18 P Zero RA7+
- 12 Cinturato RWB/RW1