Catalunya - Pirelli - Preview
After some excellent performances on the Rallye Deutschland in mid-August, Pirelli's PZero tyres will once more be at the forefront of the action on the Catalunya Rally, the twelfth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
highlights of the event will be the battle between the factory Citroen C4 WRCs against the numerous Ford Focus RS WRCs that will take the start of Spain's round of the World Rally Championship.
At the Catalunya Rally, which will be run over three days near Tarragona starting tomorrow morning, the WRC protagonists will get back to rallying on asphalt and using Pirelli's PZero tyres.
The Italian tyres, which are well-known for their versatility as they can be used for wet as well as dry conditions and are also homologated for road use, will definitely have a bearing on the eagerly-anticipated duel between the factory Citroens of Loeb-Elena and Sordo-Marti against the phalanx of Ford Focus WRCs entered on the event.
Ford will be desperate to stop the Citroen C4's supremacy on this surface, where it dominated on the last round in Germany a month ago and in Spain a year ago: always with Sebastien Loeb
winning from Dani Sordo.
On the Catalunya Rally, Ford's factory team will field Mikko Hirvonen as usual, along with Belgian asphalt expert Francois Duval in place of Jari-Matti Latvala (who will fly the flag for Stobart on the last two sealed-surface rallies of the 2008 championship).
As was the case in Germany, the WRC car drivers competing in Spain (and in Corsica the following week-end) will be able to choose between the hard and soft compound Pirelli PZero tyres, of which a limited supply will be available for each car. The noted reliability of this Pirelli product (with its famed resistance to punctures and other damage) is one of the qualities that drivers have appreciated most, putting an end to fears that the banning of anti-deflation mousse would cause problems.
The FIA priority drivers in WRC cars will have at their disposal 36 soft compound Pirelli PZero tyres and 40 hard tyres for the weekend, including those used during the shakedown.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Rally Manager:
"The weather in the area around Tarragona at this time of year is quite unpredictable, with a risk of rain and some low temperatures during the day. The question of tyre choice for the teams will therefore be a complex one, adding another element to the competition for fans and media. I am fully confident of a good performance from our tyres though, as they have already shown themselves to be as effective in the wet as in the dry - with a high resistance to impacts and punctures. The teams will be able to choose between the hard and the soft compound PZero depending on the stage, which could introduce another interesting tactical equation."