On Thursday, Pirelli will return as exclusive tyre supplier to the FIA World Rally Championship after an absence of more than ten years. The Rallye Monte-Carlo – itself 110 years old in 2021 – is considered one of the most demanding anywhere in the world because of the often changeable weather conditions encountered on the asphalt roads that snake their way through the French Alps. Pirelli is bringing around 3,200 tyres to this challenging rally round.
Despite disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, Pirelli maintained its schedule for developing the WRC tyres for the start of its three-year tenure as sole WRC tyre supplier in 2021. The tyre maker showed off the range today at an event on the opening day of Rally Italia Sardegna.
Pirelli has begun its 2021 World Rally Championship campaign with two days of private tyre testing in Sardinia. The first day is devoted to gravel and the second day on asphalt. At the wheel of Pirelli’s uniquely-liveried Citroen C3 WRC test car will be Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen, co-driven by his compatriot Anders Jaeger. The former Volkswagen, Citroen and Hyundai factory driver will be spearheading the development of the latest-generation Pirelli Scorpion tyres for gravel and P Zero tyres for asphalt, which will be supplied exclusively to the World Rally Championship from 2021 to 2024. The new tyres will eventually join the studded Sottozero Ice already displayed at the 2020 GP Ice Race in January in the manufacturer’s WRC tyre line-up.
The latest evolution of Pirelli’s Scorpion K gravel tyres received their WRC debut at Rally Turkey on the weekend, and delivered victory on this first outing. Pirelli-shod drivers swept the WRC2 class podium.
After sitting 2017 out, Pirelli returns to the World Rally Championship this year, and brings all-new P Zero and Scorpion tyres with it. The first opportunity for us to see these in competitive action presents itself at the Rallye Monte Carlo tomorrow.
Pirelli is supporting a new initiative between the national motorsport federations of Finland (AKK Motorsport) and Italy (ACI Sport) to provide an innovative rally coaching programme for up-and-coming drivers from both countries.