Sainz to make debut with Pirelli P7 Corsa Classic

Italian tyre firm Pirelli will return to its roots with the competition debut of the P7 Corsa Classic rally tyre on the Rally de Espana Historico, based in Avila near Madrid from 9-10 March. The new tyre, which was launched at last year’s Rally Legends event in San Marino, will be seen for the first time on a classic Porsche 911, driven by two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard, now aged 49, won 18 world championship rallies with Pirelli from 1990 to 2002 and the driver’s title twice on the Italian rubber, in 1990 and 1992. However, this is the first time that he will have competed in a Porsche 911 – and he is hoping that the new range of historic rally tyres from Pirelli, which combine legendary design with modern technology, will hand him a decisive advantage on home territory. “I obviously know Pirelli very well from the past and I appreciate fully the effort and the knowledge that they always put in,” said Sainz. “I had the opportunity to test the tyre already briefly and my first feeling is very good, very positive, although of course like always the real test will come with the rally. There is still a lot that will be new for me: I have never driven this car or this rally before, so it will definitely be a nice challenge for me. So far, it’s been very good working with all the people from Pirelli again: there have some happy memories. I won two World Championships with Pirelli, and these are things that you don’t ever forget. It was a few years ago now, but the passion is still the same.” The P7 Corsa Classic, which is currently available in asphalt specification but will shortly be available for gravel as well, takes its name from the classic range of rally tyres introduced by Pirelli in the 1970s. As the very first low-profile tyre seen on the World Rally Championship, the P7 broke new ground and soon become an industry standard. The design of the tyre meant that it presented a greater contact patch to the ground, and offered much improved high-speed stability, as well as greater resistance to cuts and punctures. Originally developed for the Ferrari-engined Lancia Stratos – the closest that the World Rally Championship ever got to a racing car – the P7 went on to be seen on all the greatest cars that dominated the series, such as the Fiat 131 Abarth and the Lancia Delta Integrale. In later years, Pirelli went on to equip classic Group A cars such as the Toyota Celica, with which Sainz won the title twice. The P7 Corsa Classic takes all the strengths of the original P7 tyre, but re-interprets them with modern technology to deliver all the benefits of the latest advances in performance and safety. The tyre exceeds all the latest environmental standards, and is produced without the use of noxious highly aromatic oils. The Corsa name comes from the family of Pirelli tyres that are homologated for both road and competition use, as is the case for all of Pirelli’s rally tyres. With the phenomenal power generated by historic cars such as the Porsche that Sainz will be driving, the P7 Corsa Classic has to be capable of harnessing performance in a way that gives the driver total control. An asymmetric tread pattern, similar to that seen on the P Zero range of Ultra High Performance road tyres, gives precise directional stability, while a choice of compounds ensures a high level of grip. The compounds comprise D3 (for dry conditions) D5 (for mixed conditions) and W5 (for wet conditions). The versatility of the P7 Corsa Classic is its biggest strength, with just one unique tread pattern being suitable for a wide variety of weather and road conditions. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “Carlos Sainz is a genuine icon on Pirelli’s sporting landscape, personalising the values of professionalism, expertise and sportsmanship that we share as well. It is a privilege for us that he will be among the drivers giving our new tyre its competition debut in Spain this weekend. The new P7 Corsa Classic takes the lessons of the past and re-interprets them for the present using modern technology, in a cost-effective way for competitors. Our aim is for this tyre to become one of the most popular choices in historic rallying: a branch of motorsport that has seen huge growth in recent years and one that is very close to our hearts at Pirelli, as we have been continuously involved in the World Rally Championship since it was founded in 1973.” The all-asphalt Rally de Espana Historico gets underway in the evening of Friday 9 March, with four stages run at night. The rally then finishes on Saturday afternoon, after 10 stages in total and 162 competitive kilometres. For more information and photographs, please contact Anthony Peacock on +44 (0)7765 896 930 or anthony@mediatica.co.uk