Thursday | 25 Jun 2020

Mikkelsen to launch Pirelli testing

Andreas Mikkelsen will kick-off Pirelli’s tyre testing programme in Sardinia next month in preparation for the Italian company’s return to frontline FIA World Rally Championship competition in 2021.

The experienced 31-year-old Norwegian will begin work on the Mediterranean island’s tough gravel tracks and asphalt roads in a Citroën C3 World Rally Car in the middle of July. The C3 will sport Pirelli’s distinctive colours.

Pirelli will supply all cars in the headline World Rally Car category and support championships from January until the end of 2024 and next month’s testing marks a major step in its development programme.

Recent speculation pointed to the C3 being used as the test car. Citroën departed WRC at the end of last season but the car remains the most up-to-date and unbiased option for the three current factory teams.

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli’s rally activity manager, said testing would include both dirt and sealed-surface roads to accumulate as much information as possible in all conditions.

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Mikkelsen, who left Hyundai Motorsport at the end of last season, will be partnered by regular co-driver Anders Jaeger. They will work with hard compound tyres that are the natural choice for the high temperatures and abrasive surfaces found in Sardinia.

“To see how far we’ve come with our development, which has continued unabated with laboratory testing throughout the lockdown period, we’ve selected the best combination of car and driver,” said Testoni.

“The C3 WRC, which isn’t currently used on the world championship, is extremely representative in terms of performance and allows us to develop the 2021 tyres in a way that is fair to everyone. This is a priority for any sole tyre supplier.

“Andreas is an experienced driver who is well-known for his professionalism and feeling with tyres. These have to demonstrate both performance and reliability in one complete package, which is always the biggest challenge in rallying,” he added.

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