Hyundai Motorsport and Toyota Gazoo Racing were first to run the Italian firm’s rubber at their initial tests last month. They will return for further set-up work as Pirelli prepares for its first season in the WRC’s top flight since 2010.
M-Sport Ford drivers Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith will be in the Ardèche for their first taste of the four different tyres available to them on the season opener. The British squad elected not to test before Christmas.
Following the initial running, Pirelli’s rally manager, Terenzio Testoni (above), said: “The two teams that tested went through the complete range of tyres. We had a good range of weather to get ready for the Monte with dry roads and then some slush, some ice and snow.
“The teams understand that we’re with a control tyre now and, yes, performance is important, but it’s not the priority.”
The goal for Pirelli is consistency across the tyres and, of course, an absence of punctures.
“We want tyres which are easy for the teams to work with in terms of set-up,” said Testoni. “We are in the beginning now and, of course, while we have a lot of knowledge from being in rallying for a very long time, we are learning again for these cars.”
Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing, Mario Isola, added: “The priority is to supply tires which are good and durable. The situation is different now [with the control tyre]. What we want to do is make sure every team is the same.
“Every team will have a dedicated engineer, like we do in F1. And then we have a chief engineer and Terenzio in charge.”