|Fabio Andolfi made his debut in the new Hyundai
with Pirelli support
On his debut in the all-new Hyundai i20 R5, competing in the class just below the top World Rally Car category, promising Italian Fabio Andolfi showed front-running pace with the support of Pirelli on the famous Tour de Corse.
The 23-year-old only had limited testing prior to the new car’s debut, and this was the first time that he had ever driven in the R5 category. Thanks to the support of his partners, including Pirelli and ACI (the Italian motorsport federation) Andolfi was given the opportunity to step up from the WRC3 class in Corsica and he took it with both hands.
Proof of his speed was shown when he set a second-fastest stage time, in 12th overall, just a couple of seconds off dominant WRC2 leader and factory driver Elfyn Evans. Although he was delayed by going off the road on the first day, he eventually finished fifth in class and 18th overall: having learned a lot from his debut.
“This is what Corsica was all about: a big learning experience for me,” said Andolfi. “Many thanks to Pirelli for helping to have this opportunity, which would have been very difficult to achieve otherwise. As expected, the rally was a huge challenge for us, but we’ve taken away many lessons that will be very useful for the future and we also have a much better idea of how to get the best out of the Pirelli tyres, which can make a real difference. I’m pleased that we’ve shown some speed, but there is a lot more still to come.”
Like all the Pirelli drivers, Andolfi – co-driven by Manuel Fenoli – was able to rely on Pirelli’s latest P Zero RK tyres, specifically designed for World Rally Championship asphalt events, with a single tread pattern both for wet and dry conditions. He used this tyre mostly in RK5A hard compound, which was well suited to the tough and twisty Corsican stages, but also made use of the RK7B soft compound when conditions were cooler and more slippery.
In the top World Rally Car class, Pirelli was represented by Italy’s Lorenzo Bertelli in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Bertelli finished 17th overall after the 18 stages of the Tour de Corse, which were affected by mixed conditions including heavy rain. Although he was not always happy with his set-up, the Italian managed to reduce his gap to the leaders to under two seconds per kilometre on asphalt for the first time.
Pirelli’s rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni said: “The Tour de Corse lived up to its fearsome reputation with changeable and uneven asphalt, as well as unpredictable weather that included heavy rain. From a tyre perspective, the challenge lies in the fact that the route contains corner after corner, really testing the turn-in and durability: especially on the stages in excess of 50 kilometres. With the hard RK5A compound we were able to complete 80 kilometres in the dry, on both WRC and R5 cars, with good durability. For his debut in a brand new car and category, Fabio did an excellent job and his performances underline his obvious potential for the future. Lorenzo too made an important step forward in his asphalt pace, with the tyres playing a key part in this.”
The next scheduled round of the World Rally Championship, once more on asphalt, is the Catalunya Rally in Spain from October 13-16.
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