One thing is absolutely certain; there has never been a rally
that was so tactical than that which took place in Australia. In
Britain, on the 14th and final contest in the World Rally
Championship for 2000, Richard Burns and the Pirelli-equipped
Subaru team has just one single objective – victory. The English
Subaru driver has to win the rally if he is to defeat Peugeot’s
Marcus Gronholm and claim his first Drivers’ Championship, Peugeot
having already secured the Manufacturers’ competition in Australia.
According to nearly all his rivals, Burns (and therefore
Subaru-Pirelli) are extremely difficult to beat in Britain. Before
Burns’ arrival, the former ‘king’ of the event still widely
remembered as the RAC Rally was Colin McRae who learned to master
the secrets of the gravel roads and the conditions of cold, fog,
mud even before the likely presence of snow and ice!Without the
risk of mud and snow, in fact, the British forest roads do not
present a great challenge. The surface is quite compact and rocky
which demands tyres provide maximum grip and high wear resistance.
However the unpredictable weather that can bring about the usual
mixture of mud, ice and snow, presents a problem in designed a
range of tyres in just two permitted tread patterns. This rule was
imposed for gravel events in 2000 although an emergency tyre for
snow is permitted on this event. After dominating the first three
gravel rallies of the season, Pirelli comes to the final round with
a wealth of experience specifically suited to the British finale.
The PZero range of gravel tyres includes several of the very latest
up to the minute evolutions to assist Burns and Subaru-Pirelli in
their quest for victory.
THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION
A range of 2500 tyres in two different tread patterns (K and KM
pattern, each with many evolutions) – all fitted with the EMI
anti-deflation system in its latest evolution – will be the range
available to the Pirelli-equipped teams in Britain. To complete the
range there is also an -emergency- tyre, the S16, with a narrow
footprint and no studs in case there is snow during the rally.
FOR HARD OR ROCKY SURFACES
K (Size 205/65-15)
Type: A tyre for hard and rocky surfaces
Compound options: Level 4 and 6, each with two evolutions
Description: All the K pattern tyres are designed to be hand cut to
further optimise traction and lateral grip levels. This can
therefore be called the base tyre for the rally.
FOR MUDDY AND WET SURFACES
KM (Size 205/65-15)
Type: A tyre for soft, damp or muddy surfaces
Compound options: Level 4 and 6
Description: Level 4 is for damp surfaces and the softer level 6
for muddy and wet roads.
NOTE: The higher the compound number, the softer the tyre.
‘EMERGENCY’ TYRE FOR SNOW
S16 (Size 135/90-16)
Type: Snow tyre
Description: This is a single compound narrow tyre, without studs
and with a very open tread to give maximum traction and directional
stability in snow.
THE 11-car OFFICIAL PIRELLI TEAM IN BRITAIN
3 Subaru Impreza WRC2000: Burns-Reid, Kankkunen-Repo &
Solberg-Mills 4 SEAT Cordoba WRC E2: Auriol-Giraudet,
Gardemeister-Lukander, Rovanpera-Pietilainen & Evans-Davies 1
Toyota Corolla WRC: Martin-Park 1 Subaru Impreza AllStars: Al
Wahaibi 2 Mitsubishi Lancer Group N: Stohl & Trelles …plus
other teams not regularly contesting the World Rally
OUR DRIVERS SAID…
The important thing is to get the pre-event tyre choice right after
testing. If your preparation is right then the Rally GB isn’t a
difficult event for tyre choice, even though the conditions can be
difficult. Obviously I’m going into the rally with a lot of
confidence in the ability of myself, my car and my tyres.
Rally GB has always been a good event for me – it seems to suit my
driving style. Tyre choice isn’t especially difficult although
sometimes the event is so wet that a boat propeller might be
better! The hardest thing will be to beat Richard. Last year he was
just so fast there was no way anyone could stay even close.
We had a good pre-rally test and so I’m quite happy with Pirelli’s
choices. The tyres give plenty of good grip and traction,
especially in the wet and muddy conditions we experienced.
I discovered in pre-event testing that Pirelli tyres are a lot more
sensitive to changes than what I’ve known before. They are usually
very good in these conditions and so I think we will gain a lot of
Rally GB isn’t one of my favourite events because the conditions
can change so quickly and there are too many surface changes for me
to be completely confident. However I know that, if I have a chance
to end my SEAT programme with a win then I have the right tyres to
drive very fast.
I’m hoping that the rally isn’t too wet because it’s slippery
enough as it is! We had a good test before I went to Australia and
I expect to keep the same set-up when we get to Cardiff.
THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH…
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
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
As was the case in Corsica, Burns was immediately fastest on the
opening stage and throughout the first day found no problems
staying with the leading Peugeot. Unfortunately the picture changed
on the second day when an accident damaged the Impreza’s engine and
he had to withdraw. SEAT also had troubles leaving Subaru holding
seventh and ninth with Jean-Joseph and Solberg
Australia 9-12 November Gravel
On the second day Richard Burns easily took the lead but the fear
of running first for the final day dominated his thoughts and he
slowed near its end. This action possibly denied Burns the victory
and he slipped to third before regaining second after Tommi
Great Britain 23-26 November Gravel
Milan, 17 November 2000