Pirelli will head to this week’s Rally GB looking for success with a record number of top crews tackling the World Rally Championship season finale on the Italian tyres.
Some 20 crews in the 72-strong International field will be using Pirelli rubber when the event starts from Deeside in North Wales on Friday November 14. They include World Rally Car driver Martin Prokop, WRC2 frontrunner Lorenzo Bertelli, Scottish champion Euan Thorburn (Ford Fiesta Super 2000), Irish youngster Josh Moffett (Mitsubishi Lancer) and 2014 Pirelli Star Driver and British champion Daniel McKenna, who will be competing in a Pirelli-branded Citroen DS3 R3T.
In the National Rally, over a third of the crews will be running on Pirelli rubber – 31 out of 88 entries. Notable participants include Welsh championship ace Luke Francis, Jimmy McRae, in a Vauxhall Firenza, and BTRDA Silver Star Matthew Robinson.
Pirelli is bringing its reinforced Scorpion K8 soft tyre and K4 hard tyre for drivers to use on the International event, while drivers tackling the National contest can use the full range of Pirelli Scorpion tyres including the K6 and KM6.
Rally GB concludes on Sunday November 16 after 23 special stages set over fast, tree-lined forest stages, with the crews having covered a competitive distance of 305.64 kilometres (189.91 miles).
Pirelli-supported British champion McKenna out to put on a Rally GB show Daniel McKenna insists he won’t be making up the numbers on Rally GB, which the British champion will contest in a Pirelli-supported Citroen DS3 R3T.
Irishman McKenna finished 35th overall and second in class on his event debut last year but will be aiming to come home higher up the order when the rally takes place this week.
“It’s good to see what the level of competition is like at world level,” said McKenna, who won this year’s British championship as the Pirelli Star Driver. “I’m hoping for a good result but it’s just a massive challenge to actually get round the event without any problems and not making any mistakes. But we’re not just going there to drive, we’re going to have a push and see what we can do. Hopefully we won’t be too far away.”
Q&A: Daniel McKenna How excited are you to be contesting a round of the World Rally Championship? “Last year I didn’t know what to expect and it was a baptism of fire but we’re really looking forward to the challenge of the event this year. It’s not just the rally – it’s the two days in the recce and then three days of stages.”
How have you prepared for the rally? “I was actually at work on Monday morning before heading over from Ireland on the ferry. I was with my DGM team last week to go through the set-up and Citroen send through recommended set-ups for the WRC events. Once I get a few runs in shakedown I can get up to speed fairly quickly because I’ve not driven the car on gravel since June. But the stages on Friday are identical to what we used last year so that’s a good thing.”
What support is Pirelli giving you on this rally? “Matthew Corby and Pirelli are helping with the tyres and some financial backing. They’re not obliged but it’s nice they’re rewarding me for the British championship win. Hopefully I can give them some good publicity. But their support has been essential because funding is so hard to get.”