Two of Pirelli’s key championships come together in the ‘eternal city’ of Rome this weekend: the FIA European Rally Championship and the Italian Rally Championship. Both series will use the same asphalt stages and there can only be one overall rally winner – but a classification will obviously be awarded for both championships.

The challenge. As expected, the contenders will have to battle with Italian summer heat, as well as challenging stages with slippery asphalt. The tyres will have to consistently perform at their best on a wide variety of surfaces and be resistant to wear. Their role will be particularly important in Rome, which was a rally decided by just a few tenths of a second last year.

The Pirelli drivers. Alexey Lukyanuk will be one of the eagerly-awaited ERC protagonists: the Russian Ford Fiesta R5 driver will try to re-take the championship lead in Rome, which he recently lost despite the clear superiority of his performance this year. Two-time German champion Fabian Kreim is another highlight of the entry list in his Pirelli-equipped Skoda Fabia R5, leading the ERC Junior Under 28 classification. Last year’s ERC Junior Under 27 winner, Chris Ingram, returns to the championship in another Fabia R5 after missing several rallies through illness.Several Pirelli drivers make up the Italian championship field, including the returning Giandomenico Basso (Skoda Fabia R5), Andrea Crugnola (Ford Fiesta R5) and of course the two factory Peugeot 208 T16 entries for Marco Pollara and reigning Italian champion Paolo Andreucci. Following an accident last Friday, Andreucci’s regular co-driver Anna Andreussi will not be able to take part though.

The tyres. Pirelli will bring its famous PZero RK tyres for both championships: a tyre that is well-known for allowing drivers to showcase all their skills, while demonstrating a high degree of resistance to wear. Friday’s stages aren’t too abrasive but on Saturday the roads are more complex and technical, while Sunday’s stages are faster. The harder RK5 compound should be the most prevalent choice (especially for the two-wheel drive cars) rather than the softer RK7B, given the warm conditions. The Cinturato RW tyres are available if it rains – but this is extremely unlikely.

The rules. The ERC1 drivers (in R5 cars) and ERC2 drivers (in Group N cars) are allowed to use a maximum of 18 tyres, while for the two-wheel drive cars in the ERC Junior U27 category, the maximum number is 12 tyres.

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli rally activity manager: “This year’s Rally di Roma takes place earlier than last year and will require plenty of performance from the tyres as well as strong resistance to wear, given the high temperatures expected.”Paolo Andreucci, Italian Rally Championship leader: “My accident last week was certainly frightening, but less serious than some people made out, and I’ve had the OK from my doctors to get back in the driving seat. Anna’s recovery will take a bit longer, so she can’t join me on this occasion, which is a pity.”


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