SOFT TYRES FOR THE GRAVEL ROADS OF ESTONIA
The Scorpion KX WRC SA tyres are the main choice for round seven of the World Rally Championship
Crews can expect a fast rally with slippery surfaces and big jumps
Pirelli’s Terenzio Testoni: “The Estonian special stages provide a different challenge compared to previous events, but our product has demonstrated great versatility in all conditions
The FIA World Rally Championship returns to the rapid gravel roads of Estonia for the third consecutive year, where no driving or tyre strategy mistakes go unpunished. This is the seventh round of the world championship and round four of the Junior WRC.
Why tyres matter in Estonia
The 24 special stages, covering a total competitive distance of 313.84 kilometres, feature a smooth gravel surface and are often extremely technical, with some big crests and long jumps. Coupled with the generally high average speeds, these conditions mean that drivers have to pay a lot of attention to tyre management as well as car setup. To complicate matters further, every stage is run twice – including Sunday’s stages – and the second run can often throw up conditions that are even bumpier and more tricky than the first passage.
The Pirelli tyres in Estonia
Scorpion KX WRC: Pirelli’s gravel tyre that has been developed for the top category is available in two compounds, both of which have been updated for the 2022 season with a reinforced structure and a design that’s optimised to support the heavier weight and increased torque of the latest-generation Rally1 cars. For Estonia, the soft SA has been selected as the main compound, to guarantee optimal grip even on the most slippery surfaces, while the hard HA compound – which offers increased resistance to more abrasive surfaces as well as increased durability – is the option.
Scorpion K: The gravel tyres for WRC2 and WRC3 are also available in hard and soft compounds, sharing many of the same characteristics as the KX. In Estonia, the Rally2 cars will use the soft K6B compound and hard K4B compound, while the Rally3 cars will use the soft K6 compound and hard K4 compound.
Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager: "Estonia has become a well-established fixture on the world championship calendar, and we know just how challenging it can be for the drivers, cars, and obviously the tyres. Our gravel tyres already have three extremely challenging events behind them, where they have shown their reliability, performance, and durability even in the most extreme conditions, such as the unprecedented situations we experienced in Portugal. In particular, the soft compound Scorpion – the only tyre used in Kenya – proved itself to be a very versatile tyre with an ability to adapt to a wide range of circumstances. The Estonia Rally contains challenges that are very different to other gravel surfaces on the championship, but no less demanding.”
Pirelli in numbers
Pirelli will bring around 1700 tyres to Estonia, of which 500 will be for the top class of Rally1 cars.
Each Rally1 driver can use up to 28 tyres during the rally, including shakedown. A new rule for gravel events in 2022 means each driver can choose an extra four tyres of either compound ahead of shakedown, in addition to the standard allocation of:
- 24 Scorpion KX WRC SA
- 8 Scorpion KX WRC HA
Pirelli will also supply 1200 tyres to the other four-wheel drive cars in the event, including those entered in WRC2 and WRC3:
- 22 Scorpion K6B (K6 for WRC3)
- 8 Scorpion K4B (K4 for WRC3)
· A maximum of 26 tyres are allowed to be used (including shakedown, for which an extra four tyres can be chosen).
Pirelli is additionally the exclusive supplier to the FIA Junior WRC, which will have available:
- 22 Scorpion K6
- 6 Scorpion K4
The big number: 139.18
The longest day of the rally is Friday, with competitors covering 139.18 kilometres over eight special stages: four in the morning, and then a repeated loop of the same four in the afternoon. Friday also contains the longest single stage of the rally: Peipsääre, at 24.35 kilometres.
What to look out for
The many long jumps – such as Alaküla on Saturday’s Otepää stage – are one of the key hazards of the rally. In particular, the second run over the stages can be extremely challenging. The Mäeküla stage returns on Saturday, over the Kekkose ski resort.