SWEDEN RALLY, STUDDED TYRES UNIQUE CHOICE FOR THE NORTHERNMOST RACE OF THE SEASON
According to regulations, only one type of tyre and studs will be available to Rally1 and Rally2 drivers: the Pirelli Sottozero Ice J1B with 20-millimetre studs
High stud retention the main feature of the tyres that made their successful debut last year in Umea
Equipping the JWRC cars for the season opener will be the Sottozero Ice WJB
How much ice will there be on the roads in Umea, and how uniform? It is with this unknown factor that the Swedish Rally Sweden, the second round of the WRC and the first of the five in the FIA JWRC programme for the world's promising young rally drivers, is set to begin.
Ice or not, there are certainties, however. The first one is that the challenges awaiting the drivers will be severe and that success will belong to those who know how best to adapt to the situation, doing their best under the given conditions. The second one is the Pirelli Sottozero Ice J1B tyres, which made their successful debut at Umea last year.
PIRELLI TYRES IN SWEDEN
The tyres available are:
Sottozero Ice J1B. The regulations allow, in each class of Rally Sweden, the use of only one type of tyre with only one type of stud up to a maximum of 20mm in total and with a free projection. The Sottozero Ice J1B, with a directional asymmetric pattern designed for snowy and icy surfaces, will be used by Rally1 and Rally2 cars. It features a total of 384 tungsten-tipped studs, each of which protrudes seven millimetres from the tread. The rest of the studs, which measure 20 millimetres in total, are locked in place thanks to Pirelli's patented vulcanisation process, rather than being inserted later on the finished tyre.
Each of the Rally1 drivers can use up to 28 tyres during the race, while Rally2 drivers can use up to 24. In both classes the tyres used for the shakedown are free and do not form part of the race allocation.
Subzero Ice WJB. The Junior WRC Rally3 cars will use the Sottozero Ice WJA tyre, which has some features in common with the J1B, such as 20-millimetre studs and Pirelli's unique vulcanisation technology.
Junior WRC drivers will be able to use up to 22 tyres during the event, including the shakedown.
Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager: "Last year's the location of Umea offered less consistent ice surfaces than expected, which provided a few surprises during the race. Our special vulcanisation process proved invaluable, helping to keep the studs in place even when the temperatures were milder and the gravel more exposed, so that there was almost 100 per cent retention of the studs. Hopefully conditions will be different this year, although they are unlikely to be in line with the typical northern winter. After all, there is little snow all over Europe, not just in Sweden. In any case, what is certain is that the drivers will be running the race with tyres optimised for all winter conditions”.