Pirelli Expresses Confidence in WRC Rubber
When Pirelli says it is ready for Jordan, it is of course referring to the country rather than “celebrity” Katie Price. The desert-like conditions of the Middle East land await drivers participating in the next round of the World Rally Championship, and the tyre supplier is confident its Scorpion rally tyre is more than up to the job.
“Just like Pirelli’s road car tyres, which have to cope with all the conditions that the world’s roads throw at them, the Scorpion rally tyre found on every car competing in the World Rally Championship is able to deal with an enormous variety of surfaces and weather,” Pirelli commented in a news release, adding: “The adaptability of Pirelli’s tyres is enough to soak up the demands placed on them by the sand, rocks and heat of the desert. The hard-compound Scorpion tyres not only have to provide traction but also disperse the surface sand as efficiently as possible through the tread pattern to find good grip.”
However, notes Pirelli, as Jordon has recently been the recipient of the heaviest rain to fall there in the last twenty years, a small chance exists that the Scorpion tyres will have to cope with water as well as sand. Yet this possibility doesn’t appear to be leading to any sleepless nights at Pirelli: The company says the control tyre is able to “work well even in the widest variety of conditions.” This opinion is backed up by comments from Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen, the winner of the Jordan Rally when it was last run as a round of the WRC in 2008. “I have to say that the tyres have been really good under all sorts of different conditions,” said Hirvonen. “They’ve let us get on with the job, which is to try and win the World Championship this year. We’ve had a good test before this event, and I’m confident that we’ll be fully competitive in Jordan.”
This year’s rally maintains broadly the same format as it did in 2008, with a compact route based around a service area in the Dead Sea resort, about an hour south of the historic capital city of Amman: one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, with the first civilisation recorded there in around 8500 BC.
“Jordan is certainly one of the most challenging events we will face all year, simply because of the huge variety of conditions that we are likely to experience,” reported Pirelli’s rally manager Mario Isola. “The surface is sandy with a hard base, so on the repeated stages we would expect a reasonable amount of wear due to the abrasive surface. In some places, the roads are like asphalt. The recent changing weather will provide another variable, but we are more than confident in the abilities of our tyres to cope with these extreme conditions.”
Jordan is also the third round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, for two-litre turbocharged Group N cars, and Super 2000 World Rally Championship, which uses normally aspirated two-litre cars. As part of its three-year deal as official tyre supplier to the World Rally Championship, Pirelli also supplies the support championships.