04 Feb 08
The Swedish Rally, the only snow event scheduled for this year’s WRC, marks the debut of a brand new tyre from the series’ supplier Pirelli.
For this specialised round the Italian manufacturer has introduced a new product called Sottozero. Unlike previous years in Sweden, when teams could select a tyre from a variety of different treads, compounds and stud lengths, the new 145/85 R16 Sottozero is available with only one type of tread pattern, construction, compound and stud.
To enable it to bite through soft snow and into the hard ice underneath, the Sottozero is equipped with 400, 2cm-long tungsten-tipped metal studs, moulded into the tread blocks during the vulcanisation process. The spikes protrude 7mm out of the rubber and dig into the road surface - assisted by the narrow tyre width, which intensifies the contact pressure.
Pirelli’s Rally Manager, Mario Isola, said: “This is quite a specific tyre, which has been recently tested by all the factory teams in the championship - who appreciated the traction and grip that it provided. Naturally, the more it snows the more the drivers will be able to use them to maximum effect.”
Despite the lack of anti-deflation mousse inserts, which are banned for 2008, Isola says the tyres have proved strong and reliable in testing and he is not expecting to see a lot of punctures during the rally.