The past and the future of Pirelli in the World Rally Championship
come together in Monte Carlo for the first contest of the 2001
World Championship. The Monte Carlo Rally offers the most difficult
and delicate balance in the entire championship for tyre choice.
For this event Pirelli renews its collaboration with Carlos Sainz,
the driver who claimed 2 of 3 Monte Carlo victories during the
nineties: in 1991 with Toyota and in 1995 with Subaru. Then came
the ultimate victory for Pirelli’s PZero tyre range in Monte Carlo
when Piero Liatti won with the new Subaru in 1997. Difficult road
conditions – always asphalt but with varying levels of rain, snow
and ice – meant that all of these wins were crucially influenced by
the performance of the tyres.
Monte Carlo 2001 sees the first competition under the new
partnership of Pirelli with Ford, along with the continued
relationship with Subaru (who, since 1994, have taken 3
Manufacturers’ titles, 1 Drivers and 31 event wins with the PZero
tyres). Richard Burns, narrowly beaten for the 2000 World
Championship, returns to Monte Carlo leading the Subaru Impreza WRC
team while the Ford Focus RS entries will be driven by Carlos Sainz
and Colin McRae. It is a formidable line-up and one that aims to
repeat many of Pirelli’s most famous victories on asphalt and
gravel around the world.
Today’s tyre technology and teams’ experience is critical, as is
the technical specification of the cars. The characteristics of
each event also combine to ensure that many contest are not decided
until the very last stage. Subaru and Ford, the two ‘armies’ of
Pirelli in 2001 (and for many years to come) bring immense
experience and top line technology to the modern championship. The
Impreza and the Focus represent the cutting edge of technology on
The PZero tyre range in Monte Carlo, evolved and perfected contest
after contest, test after test, sees the first of many new
improvements to be seen during 2001, both in terms of materials
used and the tyre construction. This season sees the introduction
of a new rule, limiting the number of tyre patterns to just two on
asphalt as well as on gravel (as last season) although the special
conditions for Monte Carlo – the near certain presence of snow and
ice – mean that studded extra patterns are available for this one
TWO TREADS FOR ASPHALT, TWO FOR SNOW
Pirelli comes to Monte Carlo with a range of 3000 tyres following a
long period of study, production, testing and constant evolution.
The novelty for this season is the extension of the rule demanding
just two tread patterns for gravel (introduced last year) to
include similar restrictions for asphalt. It is possible, however,
to include an extra studded tyre for Monte Carlo to deal with the
presence of snow/ice and for deep snow. All of the tyres are
fitting with Pirelli’s EMI anti-deflation system.
FOR DRY SURFACES AND LIGHT SNOW
RS (Size 225/650-18)
Type: Base’ tyre for both dry asphalt and snow
Compound options: Level 70 (+2 evolutions) and 90 (+1
Description: The level 70 option is the base tyre for the Monte
Carlo Rally. It is for dry to damp roads with temperatures between
5-15 degrees. The level 90 tyre has a thermal compound for use
between -10 and +5 degrees. It is ideal from dry asphalt to
verglas. Hand cutting possible for more snow and ice
RE (Size 225/650-18)
Type: Intermediate tyre for damp or wet roads
Compound options: Level 70 and 90
Description: The level 90 (thermal) compound can tackle with ease
very low temperatures. Level 70 is used above 5 degrees.
FOR MEDIUM TO FULL SNOW WX (Size 225/55-18)
Type: A tyre for mixed snow levels
Compound options: Level 70 (Base) and 90 (Ice), both options are
available with or without studs.
Description: These tyres are for use on mixed surface but still
effective where there is asphalt showing (not more than 60%
Stud options: 100% (across the full width of the tyre); 50% (on the
inside only) or no studs at all.
FOR MAXIMUM SNOW
S (Size 135/90-16)
Type: Studded tyre for heavy snow
Compound options: One option, always with studs
Description: Narrow tyre for maximum directional stability in snow
(more than 60%).
NOTE: The higher the compound number, the softer the tyre.
THE STUD RULES The Monte Carlo Rally has quite specific
rules regarding studding of tyres. Studs must be:
a maximum lenght of 15mm;
a maximum diameter of 6mm;
a maximum weight of 2g.
Each stud may protrude no more than 2mm from the tyre and with a
maximum of 12 studs for every 10cm of tyre (therefore each tyre can
have a maximum of 240 studs). The central band of each tyre (47mm
wide) must remain stud free.
THE PIRELLI TEAM FOR MONTE CARLO
3 Ford Focus RS
Sainz-Moya, McRae-Grist & Delecour-Grataloup
3 Subaru Impreza WRC
Burns-Reid, Martin-Park & Solberg-Mills
3 Mitsubishi Lancer GroupN
Stohl, Trelles & Pozzo
…plus other teams not regularly contesting the World Rally
OUR DRIVERS SAID
Choosing the right tyres for this event is absolutely crucial. If
you get it right it can win you the rally but if you get it wrong
then you can just as easily lose. Certain stages, like the classic
Sisteron-Thoard, are especially difficult and with the new rules
limiting the choices we have available this year we will be having
to compromise more than perhaps we would have liked.
This will be my first Monte Carlo Rally although I’ve had plenty of
experience of winter driving at home in Estonia! I’m very excited,
especially after our test session. We deliberately tried some wrong
tyre choices to see how bad it could be and if that happens then
you have to drive very slowly. But when the Pirelli technicians
gave us the right tyres for the conditions it was amazing how much
grip you could find, especially in full snow.
We have to learn a little more about the way Ford’s car and
Pirelli’s tyres work together and we must maybe wait until later in
the year to see the best results. However, Monte Carlo is always a
rally where Pirelli has been working well and so I have no worries
that we won’t have absolutely the best choices available.
Pirelli tyres have a totally different ‘feel’ so the more testing
we do the more we will learn and the main thing is to tune the new
rubber to the car. But the overall feeling is good and I am
confident that we will soon find the perfect combination. Tyre
selection on this rally can often be a bit of a lottery because of
the conditions, but the restrictions in tyre availability, makes
the choice easier as there are fewer options from which to