Valentino Rossi in New Zealand


Italy's motorcycle world champion with Solberg and Atkinson in the third Impreza.
The WRC factory cars on Pirelli P Zero tyres are aiming for another top result.

Milan, 12 November 2006 - After an excellent recovery of performance and results three weeks ago in the Rally of Australia, the Pirelli-fitted Subaru Impreza WRCs once again among the top contenders in New Zealand, where the 15th and penultimate round in the world rally championship will start on Friday (17 November).

In the Antipodes, Subaru World Rally Team leader Petter Solberg will be aiming once more for victory, after having come so close in the Perth area at the end of October. The same goes for Chris Atkinson in one of the other Impreza WRC06s competing on Pirelli P Zero tyres: he led part of the first leg before an error dropped him way down the classification.

As well as the two Subaru-Pirellis in their typical official blue livery the rally, which will take place around Hamilton, will see a third Impreza competing on Pirelli P Zeros. The car Chris Atkinson drove last August in the Rally of Germany has been painted black emblazoned with the number 46 and will be driven by Valentino Rossi. The man who has won so many world championships on two wheels in the 125, 250, 500 cc and MotoGP classes will compete in the Rally of New Zealand with direct support from Pirelli Competizioni. Co-driven by Carlo Cassina, ex-navigator of Miki Biasion, with whom he won the 1988 Rally of Portugal, Valentino Rossi will attempt to repeat his performance in the 2005 Rally of Monza and the Memorial Bettega, in both of which he also drove a Pirelli-shod Subaru Impreza.

Rally Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, Mario Isola, said, "Pirelli is enthusiastic about the opportunity of supplying its tyres in New Zealand for a third ace at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza WRC. Valentino Rossi sampled the quality of our P Zeros last year in Italy and the fact that he has once again opted for Pirelli is very satisfying. For this penultimate counter towards the World Rally Championship, Pirelli Competizioni will have on offer the latest evolutions of its K tread. Rossi, who is competing as a private entrant, can select a second tread and we will provide him with the latest developments of our new KP, which have already satisfied another two aces of the calibre of Solberg and Atkinson. So in New Zealand, I expect another first class result, as was the case with the excellent second place of Petter, who has returned to his rightful place as one of the potential winners of every rally".

For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com

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