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Pirelli shows its strength in Kenya

Friday February 25 – “Our Pirelli tyres are very strong and
that is going to be our big advantage,” was how Didier Auriol
explained his fastest time on the very first section of the Safari
Rally. Hot on his heels were the Subarus of Richard Burns and Juha
Kankkunen and it was this Pirelli-equipped trio that dominated the
first day of the World’s toughest rally.

Because of the intense heat and super-long competitive sections
of this event, Pirelli has so far elected not to fit its EMI
anti-deflation system and has instead concentrated on making tyres
that are already resistant to punctures. Throughout today’s four
dry and dusty sections, Subaru and SEAT have used only the XR
pattern tyre and have won all four stages; one win for Auriol and
three for Burns who leads the rally overnight with Kankkunen and
Auriol close behind.

Tomorrow’s leg takes the rally across the Equator and the Subaru
drivers (who have both had no punctures at all today) are confident
they can maintain their advantage. “Our Pirelli tyres have been
perfect today and I can see no reason why that should be any
different tomorrow,” said Burns.

SAFARI RALLY – POSITIONS AFTER CS4

1 Burns/Reid Subaru Impreza WRC99 2h40m22
2 Kankkunen/Repo Subaru Impreza WRC99 +4m28
3 Auriol/Giraudet SEAT Cordoba WRC E2 +7m37
4 Solberg/Mills Ford Racing Focus WRC +13m17
5 McRae/Grist Ford Racing Focus WRC +13m33
6 Arai/Freeman Subaru Impreza WRC99 +17m14
7 Gronholm/Rautiainen Peugeot 206WRC +19m13
8 Loix/Smeets Mitsubishi Carisma GT +19m48
9 Sainz/Moya Ford Racing Focus WRC +24m53
10 Schwarz/Hiemer Skoda Octavia WRC +25m20
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