Thursday | 17 Dec 2020

Pirelli completes opening test session with WRC teams

Pirelli has reported a positive response to its first week of testing with FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers since 2010.

The Italian tyre giant returns to the WRC as a single supplier next season and commenced its Rallye Monte-Carlo preparations with Hyundai Motorsport and Toyota Gazoo Racing.

M-Sport Ford elected not to take part in the test, preferring to save its running on the new rubber for the new year when it has finalised its 2021 driver line-up.

Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing, Mario Isola, said: “The first test has been positive. Clearly, we are looking to provide a good durable product with almost no punctures. We want to give a strong tyre.

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“It’s true to say this isn’t the easiest rally to come back to the WRC on. We all know Rallye Monte-Carlo can be the complicated one for tyres and it’s also true to say developing the tyres in the middle of the pandemic means this hasn’t been the easiest time in our lives. But we are here and we are working with the teams.

“Like in Formula 1, each manufacturer will have a dedicated Pirelli engineer, then we will have a chief engineer and then we have Terenzio [Testoni, rally activity manager] who is in charge [of the programme].”

Isola acknowledged that a decade away from the WRC’s top flight meant there was some catching up for Pirelli to do.

“Yes,” he said, “we have been missing some experience with the latest World Rally Cars, but we have done a lot of testing this year [with Andreas Mikkelsen driving a Citroën C3 WRC] and we have a lot of experience we can call on from our history in rallying.”