Peugeot Italia driver Paolo Andreucci claimed his fifth Italian Rally Championship, and the fourth title that he has taken with Pirelli, on the Costa Smeralda Rally in Sardinia last weekend.
The Italian made sure of his title with one round of the series left to go by finishing a safe third on the demanding gravel roads of the ‘Emerald Coast’. Peugeot driver Kris Meeke won the rally in front of Skoda’s Jan Kopecky: making it an all-Pirelli podium.
Andreucci, who is also one of Pirelli’s development drivers, said that one of the key forces behind his second consecutive Italian title with Pirelli was the performance of the tyres.
“Pirelli has played a huge role in this latest success, because for the past two years we have been extremely competitive everywhere,” said the 45-year-old Italian. “The reason why we have won the title again this year is our consistent strength. With Pirelli, we’ve won on every surface, gravel or asphalt, whatever the conditions. It takes a special type of tyre to be able to do that, but it’s come as the result of all the hard work we have put in together for a very long time now. I’m absolutely delighted.”
Andreucci, co-driven as always by Anna Andreussi, counts his victory with Pirelli on the Sanremo Rally last month as one of the key moments that sealed the championship.
“That was really one of the most difficult events of the year, because the conditions were constantly changing between wet, damp and dry asphalt within a big temperature range,” he added. “Also, we faced some of the toughest opposition that we have ever seen, because we were up against the top stars of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, where the level is extremely high.”
Nonetheless, Andreucci vanquished the opposition to claim Pirelli’s second major IRC victory of the year, following Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen’s win on the world-famous Monte Carlo Rally in January.
As another successful rally season draws to a close for Pirelli, the Italian rubber has underlined not only its performance but also its versatility, by triumphing with a wide variety of different cars and drivers on all sorts of surfaces.
“On behalf of everyone at Pirelli, we’d like to offer Paolo and Peugeot Italia our most sincere congratulations,” said Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery. “The way that Paolo has driven throughout the season just goes to show what a true champion he is. We’re very proud of our contribution to his fantastic achievement, and we look forward to more success in future on the world’s rally stages – both with Paolo and all the many other drivers supported by Pirelli.”