SARDINIA RALLY, HARD TYRES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Scorpion HAs will be the prime for the endurance they have shown on the roughest terrain and longest stages
The Sardinian event celebrates its 20th anniversary this year as a World Championship stage
Testoni: "It is a rally we know very well, but but beware of underestimating its pitfalls"
The WRC arrives in Sardinia for the second consecutive stage on gravel and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the race, won in its first edition in 2004 by Petter Solberg on a Subaru. For the occasion Sebastien Ogier will be back at the wheel of his Toyota and will try to challenge his team-mate Kalle Rovanpera for the championship lead in a rally which, as usual, promises to be full of difficulties, including one of the longest special stages of the season: the 49.9-kilometre Monte Lerno, to be run twice on Friday.
TYRES IN SARDINIA
Among the main challenges of Rally Italia Sardegna are:
- the often sandy and soft gravel roads, typical of the north-western area of the island, but at the same time very rough and made hot by the sun, which put the tyres to the test
- fast and narrow stages that leave no margin for error in the approach of the drivers and the set-up of the cars
- the Monte Lerno test, mainly because of its unusual length, which puts both tyres and cars under stress, and the opening Friday test, the Tantariles, 'only' 10 kilometres long but very selective and tough, being held for the first time in 20 years
These conditions have prompted Pirelli to focus on the hard version of the Scorpion KX as the prime, meaning tyres capable of ensuring strength and durability even in the longest stages, with the most abrasive surfaces and at the highest temperatures. Option will be the soft-compound Scorpion KX SAs, which have great versatility and are able to guarantee optimum grip even on slippery surfaces and with less grip.
The regulations provide for an allocation of 24 and eight tyres respectively for the prime and option, to which must be added four for the shakedown, in the compound chosen by the crew.
The WRC2 and WRC3 cars will be fitted with tyres from the Scorpion K range, which share many of the characteristics of the KX tyres developed for the Rally1 cars. In Sardinia, the Rally2 cars will be fitted with K4B (hard) and K6B (soft) versions, while the Rally3 cars have K4A (hard) and K6A (soft) available.
For these car categories, the allocations are 22 and 8 tyres for the prime and option respectively, to which must be added a set for the shakedown.
Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager: "Sardinia is a rally that we know very well, so much so that we have largely developed our gravel tyres there, but it should never be underestimated because of the pitfalls that it can hide, which are totally different from those of the two previous gravel races of the season. I am very curious to see how the drivers will cope with such a long and demanding special stage as Monte Lerno and in general the whole day on Friday, which, as usual, promises to be the decisive one for the entire race. The hard tyres are a must in Sardinia, but the extra grip of the soft tyres offers the teams an interesting option for many special stages.