Pirelli to return to World Rally Championship from 2018

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Following a year off in 2017, Pirelli will return to the World Rally Championship from next year, homologating new products for the latest generation of World Rally Car as well as the feeder WRC2 category.

Not only that, but Pirelli also becomes exclusive supplier to the Junior World Rally Championship from next year: a series dedicated to drivers born later than January 1, 1989, driving identical R2-class Ford Fiestas. The winner will become the owner of a brand-new Fiesta R5 together with a tire, fuel and free rally entries package towards the 2019 WRC2 season.

An entirely new range of P Zero tires for asphalt and Scorpion tires for gravel has been produced for next year’s World Rally Championship, along with a redesigned Sottozero for ice and snow (available with and without studs).

For asphalt, there’s a brand-new P Zero RK5A tire together with a softer P Zero RK7B. For wet asphalt, the Cinturato RWA makes its debut. All these tires contain new constructions and compounds that provides them with more grip and performance than ever before, thanks to a selection of patented technologies.

For gravel, Pirelli introduces the new Scorpion K4 Reinforced, together with a softer Scorpion K6 Reinforced. As well as being extremely fast, the extra reinforcement in these tires safeguards against punctures even in the most extreme off-road conditions. A new tread pattern has also improved driveability and handling.

For the two winter rallies in the championship, Monte-Carlo and Sweden, there is a new-generation Sottozero tire: Sottozero B for Monte-Carlo, and Sottozero Ice (with long studs) for Sweden. This again uses patented technology to ensure stud retention, delivering optimal grip throughout the length of the stage.

“With our long and illustrious history in the World Rally Championship, paired with some of the most successful teams and drivers in the sport, it was a natural decision for us to return next year,” commented Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola. “We’ve developed tires that are specifically suited to the multi-faceted demands of the World Rally Championship, using many of the lessons learned from Formula 1, which should provide a competitive advantage without compromising reliability. We’re especially pleased to be returning to the Junior championship as well, as it fits in perfectly with our philosophy of supporting young drivers, having helped to shape the careers of so many top stars in the past.”

Pirelli will also continue to supply the European Rally Championship, which has assisted many young drivers in climbing the career ladder, as well as bagging three back-to-back overall titles for Pirelli’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz. The European Junior Under 27 Championship will once more be exclusively supplied by Pirelli, again using R2 cars.

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive portfolio. Prior to joining the company, John worked for leading automotive design website, Car Design News. Currently editor of Engine Technology International, Professional MotorSport World, Professional MotorSport Circuit, and Transmission Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web and social media content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as chairman of the annual Professional MotorSport World Awards.

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