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.
Pirelli’s new rally tyre for snow and ice, which has studs longer than 8mm, will make its first appearance this weekend. Fitted to R5 cars on the Arctic Rally from 15-16 January, the Sottozero Ice WJ debuts at the opening round of the Finnish Rally Championship. Its long titanium-tipped studs are locked into place using Pirelli’s patented vulcanisation process for retention. A new tread pattern design helps the tyre to capitalise on the increased grip supplied by the studs. Pirelli says the new tyre will be available commercially for national championships run in extreme winter conditions, such as those run in the Scandinavian and Baltic regions. It is suitable for R5, R2 and historic rally vehicles.
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 Chinese Grand Prix and Sanya E-Prix have already been postponed, now the FIA is preparing race fans for the possibility of further events being called off should the coronavirus continue to spread. In a statement published yesterday, the FIA said it is “closely monitoring the evolving situation” with relevant authorities and its member clubs, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission president, Professor Gérard Saillant.
The very first public appearance of a Pirelli tyre for the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC) will take place at the 2020 GP Ice Race this weekend. During the event, Pirelli will display will a Sweden-specification studded Sottozero Ice J1 tyre in 205/65 R15 size. This tyre will be one of several used by WRC cars from next season.
The era of Michelin tyres dominating the World Rally Championship (WRC) is drawing to a close. The FIA has chosen Pirelli as sole tyre supplier for the WRC from 2021 to 2024. With its selection, Pirelli sees itself at “the top of motorsport” thanks to its exclusive tyre supply to both the leading rally and single seater racing championships. “These successful campaigns confirm Pirelli’s leadership in world motorsport,” comments the tyre maker.
Cooper Tire Europe has launched an extensive new rally tyre range. Developed and manufactured by Cooper Tire Europe, the new range covers tarmac, classic tarmac, gravel and mud and snow (M+S) applications. The manufacturer states that the range is designed to provide ultra-high performance and reliability across numerous applications and levels of rallying competition.
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.
Carlisle-based tyre sales operation Technology Sinon UK Limited, the name of D Mack Global Limited since 19 December 2018, has entered administration with debts totalling more than £14 million pounds, according to its administrator Leonard Curtis. The company, which operated within the DMACK group of companies, was a supplier of tyres to the World Rally Championship from 2011, running its own team in the championship in association with M-Sport, until 2017. Shares in Technology Sinon UK are split between director Dick Cormack (70 per cent), a former Pirelli manager who set up the business in 2011, MEMW Management Limited (25 per cent), and Glenn Paterson (5 per cent), who has left the company after holding a variety of roles within the firm. The administrator reports that, as of 14 May, Technology Sinon UK owed just over £13 million to its list of creditors. Dmack brand rally tyres continue to be manufactured by DMack Srl, formed by Dick Cormack in 2018 when a deal was struck with Marangoni for operations to begin at the Italian tyre manufacturer’s plant in Rovereto.
Michelin chose the fastest round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship to launch its latest range of WRC gravel tyres. For the first time since 2011, the tyre maker’s partners were able to select two compounds from a choice of three options, namely the existing H4 (hard compound) version of the Michelin LTX Force tyre, along with the new S6 (soft) and M6 (medium) variants.
Pirelli showcased the broad variety of its global motorsport programme from the largest stand it has ever presented at Autosport International at the 2018 edition of the show. Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola, who heads up the company’s Formula One programme, visited the show along with around 100,000 other visitors over the course of the weekend.
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.
Building on its most successful season to date, Dmack will return to the FIA World Rally Championship for its eighth successive season in 2018 with a completely revised range of tyres for all championship competitors. Dmack says the products include a “a number of important enhanced features to optimise performance on all conditions.”
Following a year off in 2017, Pirelli will return to the World Rally Championship from next year. The tyre maker has already homologated new products for the latest generation of WRC car as well as the feeder WRC2 category. In addition, from next year Pirelli also commences exclusive tyre supply for the Junior World Rally Championship, a series dedicated to drivers born later than 1 January 1989 and contested using identical R2-class Ford Fiestas. The winner will become the owner of a brand-new Fiesta R5 together with a tyre, fuel and free rally entries package towards the 2019 WRC2 season.