Pirelli extends BRC contract
Pirelli has announced that it has committed to a further two years as tyre provider to the MSA British Rally Championship. The premium tyre manufacturer has been control tyre to the series since 2007 with the previous agreement due for completion at the end of 2012. However, as part of its ongoing commitment to national-level motorsport, Pirelli has signed a deal with BRC organisers to ensure it is sole tyre provider until the end of 2014.The BRC takes in six rallies, across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The series kicks off with three gravel rallies starting at the Rallye Sunseeker International in Poole and Bournemouth before heading to Welshpool in Wales for the Bulldog Rally North Wales and then up to the Pirelli International Rally in Cumbria. Competitors and their teams then head over the Scottish border to the Jim Clark International Rally where they contest the first of two tarmac rallies; the second being the Todds Leap Rally Northern Ireland a month later. Finally, the cars return to England to take on the International Rally of Yorkshire. “Each of the six rallies have different surfaces and challenges that place a whole range of demands upon the tyre,” explains Carl Naylor Motorsport Manager at Pirelli. “This not only enables the drivers to learn a range of driving skills and techniques, but means that they have to learn tyre control and strategy; and important part of being a world-class rally driver.“We have provided the Pirelli Scorpion K6 gravel tyre and K4 tarmac tyre to the series for a number of years now and drivers have found them to be extremely durable and reliable while offering them the grip required of these demanding rally stages. We’re really pleased to be able to commit to the BRC for a further two years and believe that with all the changes being made this year, it’s going to be a very exciting series to be involved in. This deal also takes in the Pirelli Star Driver programme for 2013 and 2014.”This year, the BRC has decided to make the series for two-wheel-drive cars only, making the sport more accessible to drivers with smaller budgets and to entice manufacturer involvement. “The move to two-wheel-drive will generate closer competition and close up the difference between the entry- level classes and the cars running at the front of the field”, explains Mark Taylor from the BRC. “It will also cap the cost of competing at the highest level in the UK and provide a clearer ladder of progression for newcomers to the sport, with the combination of these features enabling more drivers to aspire to a British Rally Championship title. “We have had a fantastic working relationship with Pirelli over the past 11 years and are delighted to have this extension to the contract signed. We believe we are the best National Rally Championship in the world, which means we are pleased that the best tyre manufacturer in the world is on board.”As well as providing tyres to the series, Pirelli gives one young driver a fully paid season in the series. This year, 27-year-old Finn Jukka Korhonen won the shoot-out and will contest the BRC as the Pirelli Star Driver in a Skoda Fabia R2.This year also marks the 21st anniversary of Pirelli sponsoring the Cumbrian round of the championship, which is based near the tyre manufacturer’s main UK plant in Carlisle and takes in stages of the Kielder Forest.