Subaru and Pirelli Comeback in the Spanish Rally Finale

Salou, 26 March 2006 - After a problematical choice of set-up and tyres, which drastically slowed the Subaru Impreza WRCs of Petter Solberg, Stphane Sarrazin and Chris Atkinson on the second leg of the Rally of Spain, the situation was greatly improved on the last day of the event. Certainly, the lead built up on the first two legs by the top drivers was impossible to make up during today's last four special stages, but the Pirelli P Zero-fitted Subarus were decidedly more competitive. Judicious work carried out on the set-up of the cars, which had tyres of matching compound and structure, meant the Imprezas were over a second a kilometre faster compared to their performance on the unhappy second leg. The final result of the rally was Solberg seventh, Sarrazin ninth and Atkinson 11th - the latter was slowed by various mistakes committed during the course of the rally - and was, therefore, due in large part to a severe disadvantage in terms of time lost by the Subaru-Pirellis early in the event. Yet the P Zero tyres fitted to Atkinson's 2005 Impreza enabled the driver to set faster times than Solberg and Sarrazin in the 2006 cars. The 2003 world champion said, "With small modifications made to the set-up this morning, the handling, drivability and performance of the car improved considerably, and the P Zero variant fitted to the car for this third leg turned out to be extremely effective. I believe the Spanish rally has still been very useful to us, because it enabled us to further refine the car; I think that what happened here will help us better prepare for Corsica". Just how valid the tyres were that Pirelli took to Spain was confirmed by Sweden's Oskar Svedlund, who also competed on P Zero tyres, dominated Group N with his Subaru Impreza STi. The Scandinavian built up a lead of several minutes over his nearest opponents, even though he is not a real asphalt rally specialist. Mario Isola, Rally Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, had this to say about the Subarus' performance on the last leg of the Rally of Spain: "The changes made to the set-up and the overall equilibrium of the Imprezas were immediately confirmed as correct, permitting Solberg and Atkinson to record some of the top times on this third day's special stages and to be much faster than yesterday, while using the same Pirelli P Zero tyres as they had for the first two legs. We also gave Petter some new tyres, on which he commented very positively. I would also like to congratulate Oskar Svedlund, who swept the board in Group N using P Zero Racings without anti-puncture mousse that were very similar to those of the WRC". Rally of Spain's final classification, WRC 2006 Event nr. 04: 1. Loeb (Citron) 3h22'01''7 2. Sordo (Citron) +48''2 3. Grnholm (Ford) +1'45''8 7. Solberg (Subaru) +3'48''2 8. Sarrazin (Subaru) +4'36''4 11.Atkinson (Subaru) +5'33''9 22. Svedlund (Subaru) +27'58''6 (1st Gr.N) For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com