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Pirelli At The Swedish Rally

Milan, February 8, 2000 – The Monte Carlo Rally is now
recent history, as are the fine results of the Pirelli-equipped
drivers including the ‘peak’ performances of Richard Burns (Subaru
Impreza WRC99) who was an early leader of the rally and that of his
team mate Juha Kankkunen on the famous special stage of Sisteron
thanks to our revolutionary new tyre developments. Monte Carlo is
now in the past, however, and we now turn our attention to the
Swedish Rally (February 10-13) which is based close to
Karlstad as usual. The World Rally Championship is already well
into its early hectic pace which, in the next two months, will see
action on four very different events.

Until a few years ago the Swedish Rally always meant a lot of
snow and ice. However changes in the global weather patterns
towards the end of the last century have affected many events in
the World Rally Championship. The characteristics of the Swedish
Rally are now very fast special stages without thick snow
but with hard-packed ice and gravel. Because of this the technical
challenge, especially on the tyre front, has been made even more
complex.

Pirelli has not won in Sweden since February 1997 when
victory came from Kenneth Eriksson (Subaru). This year, however,
Pirelli has very high expectations thanks to the extremely high
level of competitiveness shown by both Subaru and SEAT in Monte
Carlo where the versatility shown by the Pirelli PZero range
of tyres was confirmed by enthusiastic comments made by the
drivers.

Pirelli will be in Sweden with a PZero range comprising around
1500 tyres but with just two tread patterns in accordance
with the new technical regulations approved by the FIA for all
gravel rallies (with the exception of the Safari Rally in Kenya)
this year. The PZero range for Sweden, always with studs on every
stage, is the fruit of a long exercise in study and evolution
throughout the winter test faced by Subaru and SEAT in the past few
months.



JUST TWO TREADS FOR SWEDEN

About 1500 of the latest evolution PZero tyres will be
sent to Sweden following the results of the winter tests in
Northern Europe. All will be fitted with the latest evolution of
the EMI anti-deflation system and it is these weapons with
which Pirelli will attack the second event of the 2000 World Rally
Championship.

The new technical regulations for 2000 say that each team
can have on every gravel event (with the exception of the Safari
Rally) a range of tyres with just two tread patterns
registered before each event with the FIA. Within these patterns
the choice of compound (and in the case of Sweden, the
studs) is completely free.

Here are the Pirelli tyre choices for Sweden with a description
of their technical characteristics:




FOR SNOW AND FROZEN GRAVEL

J (Size 145/85-16)

Type: Tyre for ice and snow or frozen
gravel
Compound options 2: Base and
Evolution
Description: Tyre for little or no snow or
for conditions of snow and ice. Asymmetric tread design. Two
types of studs are available; long for snow and ice,
short for frozen gravel. Normally this will be the base tyre
for this event.




FOR HEAVY AND FRESH SNOW

S (Size 135/90-16)

Type: Tyre for fresh snow and/or heavy snow
Compound
options: Single compound
Description: A very narrow tyre for maximum penetration and
directional stability. Symmetrical tread design and with a
single, long, stud choice available.



THE PIRELLI TEAM IN SWEDEN

2 Subaru Impreza WRC Burns-Reid and
Kankkunen-Repo

3 SEAT Cordoba WRC Auriol-Giraudet,
Gardemeister-Lukander and Rovanpera-Pietilainen

2 Mitsubishi Lancer Gr.N Sthl and
Galli

Other Pirelli-equipped teams will also be contesting the
rally


OUR DRIVERS SAY THAT…

RICHARD BURNS

Our early winter testing was carried out quite a long time ago
and we’ve already found some even better things with the car
and the tyres since then. We’ve got another test right before the
recce starts so we’ll have more up to date knowledge of the road
conditions and our potential after that. Our performance in Monte
Carlo showed that we’ve made big steps forward for 2000.




JUHA KANKKUNEN

I felt really confident after our first winter test because I
know we have a much better car and tyre package than last year. Of
course we don’t know what improvements our rivals have made but,
from what other drivers told me in Monte Carlo, I think we have
good reason to be confident. The weather in Sweden can
change completely in just one day. Personally I would prefer that
the rally is in full snow but if it is a mixture of ice and gravel
we can be even more competitive.




DIDIER AURIOL

Unlike Toni I haven’t had a chance to drive the SEAT in snow
yet. I will only get the chance just before the recce starts so
it’s hard to say how confident I feel about Sweden at the
moment. However, I think it would be best for me if it snows like
hell for two days before the rally. For me it’s much more fun to
drive when the snow is thick and we have snow banks to
bounce the car off.




TONI GARDEMEISTER

For sure we have made big improvements since last season.
If there is no snow on the roads and just ice and gravel then
everyone’s biggest problem will be to keep the studs in the tyres.
I would like to find some small snow banks to help keep the car on
the road. Also very icy stages and a temperature between
zero and five degrees below freezing would be perfect. If there is
a lot of new snow then the roads are so slippery that it’s like
aquaplaning on ice. After Monte Carlo I am feeling confident with
the car and the tyres and I’m sure we can get another good
result
in Sweden.



13 MORE ROUNDS TO… THE END OF THE WORLD


Monte Carlo 20-22 January Asphalt/snow/ice

Richard Burns (Subaru-Pirelli) was in second place and chasing a
possible victory when his car failed to start the second day. Juha
Kankkunen (Subaru-Pirelli) finished third after setting a stunning
fastest time on Sisteron while SEAT-Pirelli’s young Finn Toni
Gardemeister was acclaimed as a star of the rally in fourth.



Sweden
10-13 February Snow/ice/gravel

Safari 24-27 February Gravel

Portugal 16-19 March Gravel

Catalunya 30 March-2 April Asphalt

Argentina 11-14 May Gravel

Acropolis 8-11 June Gravel

New Zealand 13-16 July Gravel

Finland 17-20 August Gravel

China 7-10 September Gravel

Corsica 28 September-1 October Asphalt

San Remo 12-15 October Asphalt

Australia 9-12 November Gravel

Great Britain 23-26 November Gravel