RALLY OF CHILE, TANAK WINS WITH THE RIGHT TYRE STRATEGY TO TOYOTA THE CONSTRUCTORS' TITLE
The Estonian dominates a race in which tyre choice and management proved crucial
The definitive turning point on the second day, when the Scorpion hard tyres made the difference
Testoni: "Saturday's stages, which were particularly hard on the tyres, confirmed our predictions".
A rally all or almost all about tyre strategy and the best use of tyres on more aggressive terrain than many could have expected, and with not a few surprises in the final ranking. The 2023 Rallye del Chile Bio Bio 2023 could be remembered in this way, as well as for the constructors' world title won by Toyota with three rally to spare, and for being a race that showed it was still an unknown for most of the World Championship drivers, with different challenges from day to day.
And it was a more fortuitous choice of tyres on Saturday morning, when the surfaces became, as expected, more abrasive and tyre-wearing than the previous day, that put Ott Tanak on the run and led him to the overall victory. The Estonian, who immediately showed he wanted to duplicate his Chilean success of 2019, had already closed in on the lead the previous day but the turning point came at the dawn of the second day. It was when the Ford driver went all out for the hard tyres, choosing four out of six, while his pursuers made different and often opposite choices. In particular Toyota, which bet on the softs to save the harder compound tyres for the afternoon, a choice that cost Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera many seconds. It went better for Hyundai drivers Teemu Suninen and Thierry Neuville, second and third at the end of the day, who opted for a mixed strategy on Saturday morning, 3 hard on 5 tyres for the Finn, 3 on 6 for the Belgian.
On Saturday afternoon, there was no history, at least in terms of tyre strategy: everyone went out with a full load of hard, 6 out of 6, to tackle the surfaces made even more challenging after the first passes. On Sunday it was back to softs on both the first and second legs.
Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli Rally activity manager: "That Saturday was going to be the key day of the rally was quite clear from the start, as was also highlighted by the analysis of our engineers after the reconnaissance at the beginning of the week, which underlined the abrasiveness and consequent high wear of the tyres on the second day. After all, the teams had no shortage of hard compound tyres: all but one had filled up on them, choosing them for the shakedown and taking their equipment to the max. And in fact the Scorpion Hard tyres ensured, as always, maximum reliability even on those particularly aggressive and demanding surfaces, while the softs, with their wide working range, did their part very well in stages, where the surface was slippery and less abrasive as on Friday and Sunday, for which they were more suited. It still resulted in an exciting race that left the fate of the drivers’ championship still open. Two asphalt rounds await us, the next of which in Central Europe is totally unknown to everyone”.
In Rally2, Oliver Solberg came out on top, thanks in part to a sensible tyre strategy. In second place was Gus Greensmith who, with the points won in Chile, keeps the race for the season title alive.
Below is a graphic summary of the Rally Chile