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Pirelli proves its pace in the mountains

Colin McRae (Ford-Pirelli) closed the Monte Carlo Rally with a
disappointing retirement on the 1st Stage of Leg 3 – the last one
-, being forced to slow down and then stop with an unexpected
technical problem occurred to his Focus RS after he had been able
to maintain the rally leadership for long time. However, the new
partnership between Pirelli and Ford has already proved that it has
the potential to enjoy great success this season: all three of the
Ford-Pirelli drivers (McRae, Sainz and Delecour) scored fastest
times on this technically difficult event. This allowed Pirelli to
start the season with 7 Stage wins from the 14 Stages that were run
on the event (SS10 was cancelled because of high spectator
numbers).

Less satisfactory was the race of the Pirelli-fitted Subarus:
both Solberg and 2000 vice-world champion Richard Burns were
stopped by mechanical problems.

A wide range of Pirelli PZero tyres were used on the event,
ranging from the narrow S-pattern snow tyre through the WX snow
racer and the intermediate RE tyre, used both with and without
studs during the event.

Group N 2000 World Champion Manfred Stohl (Mitsubishi-Pirelli)
was denied the chance to challenge for victory by a technical
problem. He closed the rally in 2nd position, immediately ahead of
his 2000 rival and 4 times GrN world champion (always with Pirelli
tyres) Gustavo Trelles. But both Stohl and Trelles are for sure
expected to be fully competitive over the season as Pirelli chases
its 7th successive Group N crown.

FINAL STANDING (15 SSs totally):

1. Makinen (Mitsubishi), 4h38m04.3; 2. Sainz (Ford-Pirelli)
+1m00.8 ; 3. Delecour (Ford-Pirelli) +2m05.3; 4. Schwarz (Skoda)
+2m26.0; 5. Gardemeister (Peugeot) +5m52.1; 6. Loix (Mitsubishi)
+6m25.9; 7. A. McRae (Hyundai) +9m04.0 ; 8. Thiry (Skoda) +13m55.0;
9. (1st of Gr.N) Gillet (Mitsubishi) +16m23.9; 10. Stohl (2nd of
Gr.N) (Mitsubishi-Pirelli) +17m50.3

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDING (after 1 of 14 events)

Drivers: 1. Makinen pt.10; 2. Sainz 6; 3. Delecour 4; 4.
Schwarz 3; 5. Gardemeister 2; 6. Loix 1

Manufacturers: 1 Mitsubishi pt.13; 2. Ford-Pirelli 6; 3.
Skoda 5; 4. Hyundai 2

Group N: 1. Gillet pt. 10; 2. Stohl 6; 3. Trelles 4; 4.
Pozzo 3; 5. Ligato 2

NEXT EVENT: Sweden (gravel/snow/ice), February 9-11