25 Jan 08
Pirelli's control tyre has emerged from its first major test with flying colours on this morning's loop of three dry Monte Carlo stages.
Running in the cooler night time conditions, Thursday evening's tests were felt unrepresentative of the performance of the PZero, but when the cars arrived back in Valence after stage five - the tyres drew universal praise.
Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson said: "The tyres have exceeded my expectations. I have spoken to Mikko [Hirvonen] about them and he was happy. The thing to look at, however, is the times which are being set on the new tyres - the cars are going quicker than last year."
Wilson's son Matthew echoed his father's praise after clipping a wall in first stage of the morning.
"There was a fast right where I turned in a touch too early and we hit the wall," said Wilson. "I felt it and thought: 'Okay, we're going to have to stop and change now. We're definitely going to get a puncture.' But then there was nothing. We did the last 16km of the stage and the tyre was perfect. We looked at the rim and it had been pushed back, but the tyre stayed up. That was very, very impressive."
Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala is the only man to have punctured one of the control tyres, but his first stage impact did also remove a large chunk of the wheel rim. Pirelli's Mario Isola said: "We are very, very happy. We have worked very hard for this moment. The condition is good for the tyre and everything is working as we want."
Frenchman Sebastien Loeb continues to make the most of the consistent cold and dry conditions. The Citroen man is 23.5secs ahead of his fellow C4 WRC driver Dani Sordo.