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Pirelli at the Catalunya Rally

Milan, 24 March 2000 – Back again to asphalt! The least used
surface of the World Rally Championship and the most difficult for
the tyre manufacturers who are called upon to produce a
super-competitive range of tyres for just three true asphalt
rallies (after Catalunya just Corsica and San Remo remain) from the
14 of the World Rally Championship. The tyres must not only be
perfectly reliable but also versatile to ensure maximum performance
on often different kinds of asphalt and in ambient conditions that
are constantly changing, especially in the spring with the
possibilities of cold and wet weather.

Therefore, for Pirelli, the fifth event of the Drivers’ and
Manufacturers’ World Championship 2000 (30 March-2 April) presents
a battle within a battle. In 1999 the Catalunya asphalt gave the
Italian tyres a hard event. However we can also remember the great
successes for the ‘long P’ including 1995 when the Subaru Imprezas
of Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae and Piero Liatti dominated the rally
and took the top three places on the podium. Looking to this year’s
trip to the Barcelona area, Pirelli and its two teams, Subaru and
SEAT, have tested extensively and intensely for this event. Tyres,
treads and new technical solutions for both the structure of the
tyres and the materials used will be crucial factors in the PZero
range of tyres for Catalunya.

The technology and experience from that 1995 event – which led
to the first of three Manufacturers’ titles for Subaru-Pirelli and
the 1995 Drivers’ Championship – has since become much more
developed and effective. The Subaru team in 2000 has already scored
two big wins on the gravel of Kenya and Portugal, confirming not
only its determination to win the title again and also the
competitive relationship between the team and Pirelli. This has
raised our hopes of success leading up to the Catalunya Rally,
hopes strengthened by the increasing progress shown by SEAT that,
in Catalunya, will be on home ground.

Pirelli will be present in Spain with a PZero range of around
2500 tyres. These latest evolutions and their characteristics are
explained on the following pages…

PIRELLI’S TYRES IN CATALUNYA

Around 2500 tyres, in the latest evolution following a long and
intensive test programme will be available for Catalunya. These
will benefit from the very latest materials and construction
characteristics and all will be fitted with the latest evolution of
the EMI anti-deflation system.

FOUR DIFFERENT TREAD PATTERNS

RP (Size 225/650-18)

Type Tyre for clean asphalt
Compound options Two: Step 5 and 7 (higher numbers = softer
tyres)
Description This tyre is for clean asphalt in conditions from dry
to damp. For both compounds there will also be an evolution version
developed for this rally.

RS (Size 225/650-18)

Type Tyre for ‘dirty’ asphalt
Compound options Two: Step 5 and 7
Description Ideal for use on dirtier and slippery surfaces. The
softer compound version is also for use on damp surfaces or in very
low temperatures. As with the RP tyre, evolution versions with new
structure and materials are available in both compounds.

RE (Size 225/650-18)

Type Intermediate tyre
Compound options One: Step 7
Description For surfaces from damp to wet.

N (Size 225/650-18)

Type Wet weather tyre
Compound options One: Step 3
Description For use in damp to wet conditions, when there is a lot
of water or in very low temperatures.

Note: The higher the compound number, the softer the
tyre.

THE PIRELLI TEAM FOR CATALUNYA

2 Subaru Impreza WRC2000 Burns-Reid & Kankkunen-Repo
2 SEAT Cordoba WRC E2 Auriol-Giraudet &
Gardemeister-Lukander
4 Mitsubishi Lancer Gr. N Trelles, Stohl, Menzi & Galli
1 Subaru Impreza Sanchez
Plus-many other teams not contesting the World Rally
Championship

OUR DRIVERS SAID…

RICHARD BURNS

We have been working very hard to make improvements because we know
that Catalunya hasn’t been very good for us in the past two years.
We’re definitely making progress. Remember that when the road was
dry in Monte Carlo we set the fastest time and we’re hopeful that
was an indication of our pace.

JUHA KANKKUNEN

Catalunya will for sure be the hardest event of the year for me but
with the new car things should be better. Pirelli has worked really
hard to find the best tyres for us and we’ll have another chance to
find improvements just before the rally.

DIDIER AURIOL

We are so busy at the moment that I’m not sure what I can say about
Catalunya! We did some testing before Portugal and we were testing
again immediately afterwards so I’ll only understand more about the
tyres when we’re ready to start the rally. Technically we have some
new things on the car, a joystick gear change for example, so that
will help to make us more competitive.

TONI GARDEMEISTER

Catalunya is almost a completely unknown rally for me! I did gravel
notes there before but I’ve never competed on the event and I
didn’t get the chance to test there before Portugal. It’s a big
pressure event for SEAT because it’s the team’s home event so we’ll
be working very hard to do well.

10 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 a star of the rally in fourth.

Sweden 10-13 February Snow/ice/gravel
Burns claimed a few stage wins as well as being extremely
competitive during the first leg and was looking to challenge the
leader. Unfortunately the high speeds of the event did not allow
the chasing drivers to significantly cut the leader’s advantage.
Subaru finished fifth and sixth while SEAT suffered a few technical
problems in tenth.

Safari 24-27 February Gravel
No punctures for Subaru as Pirelli dominated the event from start
to finish. Burns won from Kankkunen while Didier Auriol was third
for SEAT-Pirelli. Pirelli also enjoyed absolute domination in Group
N. In a hard event from a technical point of view the durability of
the PZero range was the key to Pirelli’s success.

Portugal 16-19 March Gravel
Debut for the Subaru Impreza WRC2000. Burns takes lead but loses it
with power steering problems. He regains the lead but loses it
again at the end of leg 2 before regaining it on the last morning
and maintaining the advantage to the end, confirming the PZero
range’s gravel superiority. Kankkunen crashes out. SEAT-Pirelli 9th
and 10th.

Catalunya 30 March-2 April Asphalt
Argentina 11-14 May Gravel
Greece 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