Wed 19 Jan 2022

Hybrid challenge holds no fears for Pirelli

Pirelli rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni is confident the Italian tyre giant is ready for the start of the hybrid era in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Pirelli revealed its first 2022-specification tyre when crews ran an evolution of the PZero asphalt rubber for the first time in Spain in October last year.

With largely dry weather expected throughout this week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo (20 - 23 January), the soft and super soft variants of that product are expected to be the popular choice at this week’s season-opener for the all-new Rally1 cars.

“We have done a lot of testing with these tyres,” said Testoni. “We were running them at the end of last year and then we work a lot with the teams in their [pre-Monte-Carlo] testing.

“We have to wait for the rally to start, but we are feeling quite confident for the year coming.”

Both the studded and non-studded versions of Pirelli’s Sottozero winter tyre remain unchanged for this year. With the only significant snow to be found on the top of Saturday’s Saint-Geniez to Thoard test, it’s thought unlikely they will be overly used.

Away from the Rally1 category, Pirelli brings a new construction Rally2 tyre and a 17-inch version of the PZero and Sottozero to the Rally3 category for the first time.

“We have been busy,” said Testoni. “The WRC2 and WRC3 categories are very important for Pirelli – they are close to our DNA because these tyres are used a lot in many of the national championships we are covering.

“It’s a very exciting time in the WRC, we are at the start of something new. We know the cars will bring different demands with the challenge of the extra weight of hybrid, but also with the big power – more than 500bhp – off the start line. We are ready.”

• Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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