The 2018 Pirelli P Zero RK makes its debut on the famous asphalt of Corsica

The Junior World Rally Championship visits the famous asphalt of Corsica for its second round, characterised by twisty and bumpy mountain roads, where precise pace notes, perfect handling and full confidence are all keys to success. The latest version of the P Zero RK makes its debut, having been originally developed for WRC competition before expanding its technology to national championships and Pirelli’s road car product, which takes plenty of lessons away from the extreme environment of rallying.

The challenge: Corsica is known for variable weather and uneven asphalt, with a series of switchback hairpin bends. Keeping the tyres in good condition is an essential part of the challenge, especially as there are some long stages on each day of this year’s route. The longest stage is the 55.17-kilometre test from Vero to Sarrolo-Carcopino on Sunday.

The Pirelli drivers: Following his debut win at home in Sweden, Denis Radstrom will be looking to extend his Junior championship lead on territory that is much more unfamiliar to him. He goes up against 13 other JWRC drivers in identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars, including two making their season debut: Bugra Banaz from Turkey and Umberto Accornero from Italy.In the R5 category, Fabio Andolfi will drive a Skoda Fabia backed by the Italian motorsport federation, while Pirelli is also supporting several local crews, including the all-female line-up of Laura Salini and Myriam Peretti.

The product: Pirelli will bring the P Zero RK to Corsica: a single tread pattern tyre, which is designed to offer good grip and directionality in a very wide variety of asphalt conditions. For R5 competitors, it’s available in a hard compound RK5 (the main choice) and medium RK7. For full wet conditions, the Pirelli Cinturato rain tyre is available, which is extremely efficient at evacuating water. For JWRC drivers, the RK5 tyres (for dry conditions) and RKW7 (for damp and wet conditions) are available.

The rules: The drivers are allowed to use up to 22 tyres during the event, with a separate allocation for the shakedown.

The event: Rally Corsica gets underway on Thursday 5 April with a ceremonial start in Bastia (which hasn't taken place there since 1978) before the first of 12 special stages from Friday, totalling 333.48 kilometres. The finish is at 15:00 on Sunday 8 April, in Corsica’s capital of Ajaccio. Only two stages are identical to last year, with some not used since 1999.

Pirelli quote: Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager: “Pure asphalt is one of the toughest tests for any car – and tyre – and Corsica is probably the most selective asphalt rally of them all, where the tyres are working constantly in a very wide range of surface and weather conditions. As a result, this weekend might be the most demanding outing of the year for the P Zero RK, so we have to be prepared for anything. The very long stages that have been introduced to the schedule this year provide an extra challenge, and with only 12 stages forming the total itinerary from Friday to Sunday, no mistakes will go unpunished.”


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