Pirelli heads for its home event, the all-asphalt San Remo Rally
(October 20-22), with Richard Burns hoping to launch a major attack
on the Drivers’ title and with Subaru aiming to do the same in the
Constructor’s series. The 12th round of the championship, and the
final one on asphalt, is run on the special stages of Liguria and
Piemonte. These roads offer varying levels of grip as the asphalt
is sometimes smooth, sometimes abrasive, sometimes twisty and
sometimes fast which means a big difference in average speeds. The
question of the changeable weather is also relevant here. The
middle of October can sometimes see warm weather of late summer or
the cold and rain of early winter.
These conditions further complicate an already difficult
technical challenge and ensure the need for a range of
super-competitive tyres that are fully adaptable to the diverse
conditions and demands. Not only must they be reliable but they
have to have wide-ranging versatility to ensure maximum performance
in conditions that can change very quickly.
For Pirelli the 12th round of the World Rally Championship
presents an important challenge. Following the recent Corsica
Rally, where Richard Burns was able to win Special Stages at the
beginning and end of the event, it is clear that the development
work on the PZero range of asphalt tyres has paid dividends. It is
now important that the Subaru-Pirelli partnership works perfectly
to regain the advantage held early in the season but lost after
some problems with the mechanical reliability of the Impreza
After San Remo begins the final rush for the championship. Both
remaining events are on gravel. First the fast and slippery sand of
Australia and then the rain and mud associated with the Rally of
Great Britain which will decide the final destination of the
championship. First, however, is San Remo where we will be giving
full support to Subaru and SEAT, also to Mitsubishi who dominates
the World Group N Championship and also to Andrea Aghini’s Group A
THE QUEST FOR MAXIMUM VERSATILITY
A range of 2500 tyres using the latest construction materials has
been created by Pirelli to tackle the challenge of San Remo.
Running in October the event could face summer weather and also
wintry conditions. Here are the technical details of the tyres
that, as ever, all feature the latest EMI anti-deflation
FROM HOT TO COLD
RP (Size 225/650-18)
Type – A tyre for clean asphalt
Compound options: Level 3, 5 and 7 (from hard to soft)
Description: Level 5 is considered the key tyre with the soft
compound Level 7 designed for a damp surface or one that is dry but
cold. There are two ‘evolution’ versions using new materials.
RS (Size 225/650-18)
Type – A tyre for all conditions
Compound options: Level 3, 5 and 7
Description: This tyre is ideal for a dry surface but also in damp
or cold conditions. There is one evolution version for each level
using new construction and materials.
RE (Size 225/650-18)
Type – Pirelli’s intermediate tyre
Compound options: One, level 7.
Description: The tread pattern is not very open and is designed for
damp to wet surfaces. It can also be hand cut. There are also two
compound evolutions available.
N (Size 225/650-18)
Type – For heavy rain
Compound options: One.
Description: For very wet surfaces or with hail and snow.
NOTE: The higher the relative compound number, the softer
THE PIRELLI TEAM IN SAN REMO
3 Subaru Impreza WRC2000: Burns-Reid , Jean-Joseph-Boyere &
2 SEAT Cordoba WRC E2: Auriol-Giraudet &
3 Subaru Impreza: Dallavilla, Andreucci and Al Wahaibi
1 Mitsubishi Lancer Group A: Aghini
4 Mitsubishi Lancer Group N: Stohl, Trelles, Pozzo and Menzi
…plus other teams not regularly contesting the World Rally
OUR DRIVERS SAID…
The recce is going to be very important here. We’ve lost the stages
near Acqui Terme, which is a shame because I enjoy them, and we
will be tackling some stages in both directions. When we do them in
reverse we will have to consider how much gravel has been pulled
onto the roads from the previous run and we may have to take a
different tread pattern.
I know the San Remo Rally better than I knew Corsica so I hope that
I will be able to make better use of this opportunity. The stages
are quite smooth around San Remo so we will need to work quite hard
to find solution that gives us the best grip, compared to the old
roads we used to drive on around Acqui Terme.
Everybody is talking about a new route but don’t forget that it’s
really some old stages run the opposite way! We could have problems
with gravel being pulled onto the road as each car passes and so we
will need to think very carefully about tyre choice. We could do
quite well because I like the stages near to San Remo very
I really like the stages in San Remo and so I’m looking forward to
this event a lot. If everything goes well then I really feel that
we can get a good result there. I’m not sure how the new format
will work. Maybe it’s better to do the same stages two or three
times, maybe not. We’ll have to wait and see.
THREE 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
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
Home again on gravel and the Subaru-Pirelli team was unbeatable.
Richard Burns gave a driving lesson after overcoming an early
overheating problem with the Subaru Impreza WRC2000, taking command
and holding it to the finish. Once again Group N, with Mitsubishi,
was wholly Pirelli’s domain.
Acropolis, 8-11 June – Gravel
A difficult gravel contest with the Subarus and SEATs giving their
Pirelli tyres a hard test thanks to the extremely rough Greek
roads. Group N was again the sole domain of Pirelli. Unfortunately
Burns did not make the finish but third place for Juha Kankkunen’s
Impreza WRC2000 ensured a good points score.
New Zealand, 13-16 July – Gravel
Bad luck for Subaru-Pirelli, especially for Richard Burns. After
suffering through running first on the road for leg one, on a very
dirty surface, the Englishman recovered from eighth to third on leg
two but retired on the third day with an identical mechanical
failure to that of team mate Juha Kankkunen.
Finland, 17-20 August – Gravel
Until the beginning of leg two Burns was challenging for victory
but a violent accident put his Subaru Impreza WRC2000 out of the
event on the first stage of the second day and his dream
disappeared. Kankkunen scored some fastest times but had an unlucky
event despite the PZero range rising to the Finnish
Cyprus, 7-10 September – Gravel
Burns was always in the battle for victory on this event, winning
seven stages, but the Englishman was restricted to fourth overall
by mechanical problems. Despite the problems Burns and Subaru
continue to challenge for the championship. Once again
Mitsubishi-Pirelli dominated Group N
Corsica, 28 September-1 October – Asphalt
The asphalt event started well for Burns, fastest on the first
stage for Subaru-Pirelli. Unfortunately the changeable weather and
an uncomfortable balance with the Impreza WRC2000 cost Richard the
chance to challenge the Peugeots and the Ford of Carlos Sainz.
Nevertheless fourth place closed the gap to the series
San Remo, 19-22 October – Asphalt
Australia, 9-12 November – Gravel
Great Britain, 22-26 November – Gravel
Milan, 13 October 2000