Rally of Italy: a terrible final stops the works Subaru-Pirelli

Olbia, 21 May 2006 - The conclusion of the Rally of Italy was not one of the happiest for Pirelli, whose leading cars either came to a halt or severely slowed. After the Pirelli-liveried Peugeot 307 WRC driven by Gigi Galli was unable to re-start the event and compete in the third leg due to a seriously damaged engine after overheating during yesterday's finale, things were going rather well thanks to the two works Subaru Imprezas on P Zeros. Petter Solberg had won two special stages and Chris Atkinson was fastest over a timed section. However, during the last stage of the rally, a front axle problem seriously slowed Solberg. The set-up of the car was distorted and that completely wore down the Norwegian's front tyres, causing him to lose a number of places and end up ninth overall. Things went even worse for Chris Atkinson: he left the road on the last stage and terminally damaged his Subaru Impreza WRC. The best and highest placed competitor on Pirelli P Zero tyres was Kristian Sohlberg, who drove a prudent rally and always performed at a very high level in his Subaru Impreza WRC on Pirelli, entered by the Turkish team Atlye Kazaz. "I am pleased with this result, which was achieved in a difficult event like the 2006 Rally of Italy. The P Zeros supplied to me by Pirelli Competizioni performed extremely well on the Sardinian loose stages and the excellence of the car did the rest". Mario Isola, Rally Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, observed, "Galli's performance right up until his retirement and the excellent third leg by the works Subarus before the problems experienced by Solberg and Atkinson on the last special stage prove once more that our P Zeros were competitive throughout. Obviously, we expected a better result than our teams achieved today on our home event. But it is also clear that the yield of the tyres was excellent right up until the problems experienced at the end of the rally by Solberg and Atkinson. It is also the case to observe that the Norwegian's front tyres were completely worn out due to the negative change in the car's set-up as a result of damage to the front axle of the Subaru". Rally d'Italia-Sardegna final classification, WRC 2006 Event nr. 07: 1. Loeb (Citron) 3h54'18''9 2. Hirvonen (Ford) +2'41''4 3. Sordo (Citron) +3'27''7 6. Sohlberg (Subaru) +7'36''9 9. Solberg (Subaru) +10'19''9 For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com