Seven-time Italian Rally Champion Paolo Andreucci will return to the Peugeot 207 S2000 in which he won four titles with Pirelli on the Costa Smeralda Rally this weekend: round four of the Italian Rally Championship.

Andreucci usually drives a Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R2 on the Italian series this year, as he waits for the new Peugeot 208 R5 to make its debut. But for Costa Smeralda – an event that Andreucci and his co-driver Anna Andreussi have won five times in the past – they make a one-off return to the Peugeot 207 S2000: the most successful Super 2000 car in the category’s history.

The 32nd Costa Smeralda Rally is based in Olbia on the island of Sardinia, and for the most part it follows directly behind the Rally d’Italia world championship event held from Thursday 20 May to Saturday 22 May. This poses a new challenge for the Italian Championship crews, as they will compete on roads that have been affected by the passage of all the World Rally Championship competitors: particularly during Saturday.

The Sardinian stages are characterised by soft and sandy gravel, which clean rapidly to reveal some sharp rocks and stones. This makes repeated runs through the stages particularly treacherous and a big test for Pirelli’s Scorpion K4 tyres, which Andreucci along with the other Pirelli runners will use in Sardinia. The harder compound K2 tyres will also be available for even more extreme conditions. Pirelli though has an excellent record in marginal conditions, with the puncture rate of the control tyres supplied to the World Rally Championship between 2008 and 2010 equivalent to less than 0.02%.

“We wanted to give the Peugeot 207 S2000, with which we have enjoyed so much success with Pirelli, one final, special send-off,” explained Andreucci. “This is strictly a one-off event, but as Sardinia also a round of the World Rally Championship, we wanted to make it one to remember, which is why we will also be carrying the red, white and green colours of the Italian flag. Of course with this car we have the possibility to win overall, which we don’t with the R2, and that will obviously be the aim together with Pirelli.”

As well as Andreucci, Pirelli will also supply the factory Skoda Fabia S2000 of Italian Rally Championship leader Umberto Scandola, the winner of the last gravel round of the championship at the Rally Adriatico last month. Alessandro Perico, the winner of the championship’s opening round with Pirelli, will drive his usual privately-run Peugeot 207 S2000.

The Rally Costa Smeralda is also a scoring round of the Trofeo Rally Terra: Italy’s gravel championship. Pirelli will supply former Italian and European rally champion Renato Travaglia as well as Fabio Gianfico. Both of them will drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9s.

The Costa Smeralda Rally takes place over six stages on Friday and Saturday, comprising a total of 129.04 competitive kilometres. Former winners of the prestigious Italian event include Markku Alen, Attilio Bettega, Henri Toivonen, Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol.

ENDS

For more information about Pirelli please contact Anthony Peacock on +44 (0)7765 896 930 or anthony@mediaticaworld.com