Pirelli will have a record number of entries since returning to the World Rally Championship at the start of this year, on the season-closing Wales Rally GB next weekend. No fewer than 50 cars will use the Italian tyres from November 13-16, including competitors on the fully subscribed national event, which follows behind the main field.
This underlines the popularity of the latest rally products from Pirelli for asphalt and gravel, which have proved to deliver both performance and reliability.
Wales Rally GB runs all over the forests of Wales in Great Britain, giving the tyres plenty of work in order to evacuate challenging quantities of mud and water, sometimes with a risk of ice in the early mornings too.
In the leading World Rally Car class, Pirelli will equip the Ford Fiesta RS WRC of Martin Prokop. In WRC2, the Italian tyres will appear on the Ford Fiesta R5 of championship frontrunner Lorenzo Bertelli, while Mitsubishi Lancer driver Max Rendina has already won this year’s Production championship so will not be present. In the two-wheel drive WRC3 category, competitors include the Citroen DS3 R3T of newly crowned British Rally Champion (and Pirelli UK Star Driver) Daniel McKenna.
Leading Pirelli drivers in Great Britain Pirelli is represented in all the classes, including the historic section of the rally. This is just a selection of some of the drivers who will run with Pirelli next weekend:
21 Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Mitia Dotta (Ford Fiesta R5) 40 Valeriy Gorban/Korsia Volodymyr (Mini John Cooper S2000) 42 Bernardo Sousa/Hugo Magalhaes (Ford Fiesta RRC) 81 Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Fiesta S2000) 87 Daniel McKenna/Arthur Keirans (Citroen DS3T)
The tyres available For the demanding gravel stages of Wales, Pirelli will bring the reinforced Scorpion K8 soft compound, as well as the reinforced K4 hard compound. The K has always been a very versatile tyre, capable of covering a wide range of conditions, with a well-known tread pattern that is extremely efficient when it comes to evacuating mud, water, gravel and loose stones. The K8, with its softer compound that is designed to work best in cold and muddy conditions, will be the default choice with the harder compound tyre used in case of warmer conditions with a harder base.
The rules A maximum of 40 tyres in total, including four for the shakedown, can be used by Priority 1 and 2 drivers for the duration of the rally, which totals 23 stages. Drivers have 24 of the soft compound tyres available and 16 of the hard compound.
Quotes Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship is an event that’s very special to me personally, as it’s really what first got me into motorsport: heading out into the forests as a youngster, watching the likes of Markku Alen. The sport has changed but the challenge of Rally GB is no different now: mud, rain, fog, and slippery surfaces. It’s one of the events that asks the most from tyres, which is why we’re delighted that we have our record entry here. Our intention in coming back to the World Rally Championship this year was to support privateers and give our existing customers the opportunity to go rallying at the highest level. Using the experience we’ve gained from rallying in the past – a sport we’ve been involved in from the very beginning – as well as Formula One, we’ve been able to come up with a product that is both reliable and fast, on every surface. More evolutions are in the pipeline, and we look forward to another strong performance this weekend on some legendary stages.”