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Pirelli at the rally of Argentina

Milan, 8 May 2000 – Once again the World Rally Championship
returns to gravel for the Rally Argentina (the sixth round of the
championship, 12-14 May) and this surface becomes the theme for the
next four events through the central part of the season. Last year
with five victories on gravel, and already with wins in Safari and
Portugal this year, Subaru-Pirelli has enjoyed great success. These
results, together with the constant domination of Pirelli-equipped
Mitsubishi Group N entries, demonstrate the great reliability and
optimum levels of performance by Pirelli’s PZero range of gravel
tyres.

However, the Argentine gravel is different from that of the
other rounds of the championship. Occasionally hard and abrasive,
sometimes with deep sand and nearly always very fast, the stages
around Cordoba create a theatre of battle and great spectacle. The
presence of rain can radically change the nature of the contest. In
South America first we must find strength and resistance to these
surfaces as well as traction and directional stability. Pirelli
takes on this challenge with a PZero range of gravel tyres in two
patterns; K and KM, both of which have proved through experience
over recent events to be very competitive.

Pirelli has already won in Argentina. Unforgettably last year we
enjoyed a 1-2 result with the Subaru Imprezas of Juha Kankkunen and
Richard Burns dominating the contest and going on to achieve even
more fantastic results in the middle and end of the season. The
expectations are therefore again high, strengthened by the high
levels of competitiveness already shown by the new Subaru Impreza
WRC2000 that won in Portugal and which was extremely competitive
last month in Catalunya.

Pirelli will be present in Argentina with a PZero range of
gravel tyres featuring two tread patterns (approved by the FIA
according to the rules for this year) that are the result of a long
and demanding test programme in the past month with both Subaru and
SEAT.

TWO TREAD PATTERNS FOR THE PAMPAS

A range of 1500 tyres – all fitted with the EMI anti-deflation
system in its latest evolution – will be at the disposal of the
Pirelli-equipped teams in Argentina. The PZero range of gravel
tyres chosen for the stages around Cordoba is the result of both a
long recent test programme and also the victories in Safari and
Portugal. As in Portugal the new regulation permitting just two
tread patterns approved in advance by the FIA is applied.

Here are the details of the Pirelli range of tyres and their
characteristics.

FOR HARD GRAVEL

K (Size 205/65-15)

Type A tyre for hard and clean surfaces
Compound options 2: Level 4 (base) and 6
Description Level 4 (base) is for dry or abrasive surfaces, with an
Evolution with similar performing characteristics to 4 (base) but
designed for maximum durability on longer stages. Step 6 is for use
when wet or with low temperatures.

FOR SOFT AND SANDY SURFACES

KM (Size 205/65-15)

Type A tyre for soft, damp or sandy surfaces
Compound options 2: Level 4 (base) and 6
Description The medium-soft compound of Level 4 (base) is for dry
surfaces; as with the K-pattern tyre an Evolution is present for
use on longer stages.

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

THE PIRELLI TEAM IN ARGENTINA

2 Subaru Impreza WRC2000 Burns-Reid & Kankkunen-Repo
2 SEAT Cordoba WRC E2 Auriol-Giraudet &
Gardemeister-Lukander
7 Mitsubishi Lancer Group N Aghini, Stohl, Trelles, Sanchez, Mendez
and Menzi

…plus other teams not regularly contesting the World Rally
Championship.

OUR DRIVERS SAID…

RICHARD BURNS

Everyone at Subaru is feeling very confident for the next few
events. Argentina was a good result for the team last year with a
1-2 and there’s no reason why we can’t do it again. We know that
the Pirelli tyres we had in Australia and Britain last year will be
suited to the conditions and we’ve found some new options from our
recent tests that should improve things even more.

JUHA KANKKUNEN

I won in Argentina last year so I’m pretty confident that we have
the right combination this time. We’ve been testing hard to improve
a few things on the new car and generally we’re feeling very good
right now. We’ve got four events that should suit our car and the
tyres; Argentina, Acropolis, New Zealand and Finland. I hope it’s
going to be a good summer for Subaru and Pirelli!

DIDIER AURIOL

I’ve won in Argentina twice and finished third four times so I know
I can do well on this event. It’s quite a difficult rally with
different surfaces but I know it quite well by now. Pirelli’s
result last year was a big success for them so I hope that, between
us, we can enjoy the same kind of success once again.

TONI GARDEMEISTER

I don’t know a single thing about Argentina because I’ve never been
there! The only thing I know is from what I’ve seen on television
or what Ive been told. I understand that one leg in Argentina is
fast and smooth, one is twisty and quite rocky and the other is
twisty and soft. However, after Pirelli’s result last year for Juha
and Richard at least I’m sure we’ll have the right tyres!

EIGHT 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 restart 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
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 finished 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 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
The debut of the Subaru Impreza WRC2000 saw Burns take immediate
command, lose the lead with hydraulic problems, regain it and then
lose it once more before finally taking a winning lead on the final
day. Kankkunen crashed out while SEAT-Pirelli finished ninth and
10th to confirm the performance of PZero gravel tyres.

Catalunya 30 March-2 April Asphalt
The Subaru Impreza WRC2000 proves impressively quick on asphalt. In
a wet first leg, Burns takes command thanks to the N-pattern tyre
before battling for the lead with the Ford of McRae who eventually
takes a narrow win over Burns. Burns, however, consolidates his and
Subaru-Pirelli’s lead in the World Championship.

Argentina 11-14 May Gravel

Acropolis 8-11 June Gravel

New Zealand 13-16 July Gravel

Finland 17-20 August Gravel

Corsica 28 September-1 October Asphalt

San Remo 19-22 October Asphalt

Australia 9-12 November Gravel

Great Britain 22-26 November Gravel