Pirelli-backed Academy teams prepare for season finale in Spain

A new challenge awaits the WRC Academy for this week’s season finale as crews prepare for the only mixed surface event of the six-round series that uses Pirelli as the championship’s sole tyre supplier.

Based on the Costa Daurada in Spain’s Tarragona region, this year’s Rally de Espana will challenge the crews with a unique blend of both gravel and asphalt speed tests.

The biggest challenge will be on Friday with the 44.02km Terra Alta special stage: a test that includes no less than three surface changes. The cars will then be re-prepared to full gravel specification for the final day of competition.

Twelve special stages will form the closing round to this year’s championship and Pirelli will be on hand to supply the crews with its highly competitive RX5 and RE7 asphalt tyres as well as the K4 tyres on gravel – which the crews have used all year.

WRC Academy champions Elfyn Evans and Andrew Edwards, Ford Fiesta R2
WRC Academy champions Elfyn Evans and Andrew Edwards, Ford Fiesta R2

Photo by: xpb.cc

The Rally de Espana presents a unique opportunity for Pirelli to showcase the full range of tyres that have been seen in action throughout the season.

The RX family of tyres is among the most versatile in Pirelli’s competition range thanks to a lightly grooved tread pattern, a square profile and a particularly rigid structure.

These characteristics help steering precision and provide a rapid response, while maintaining the strength and durability to cope with prolonged high speeds and longer stages.

The RX5 will be used in dry conditions with the RE7 available in the event of cold and damp conditions.

Pirelli has developed a version of the K4 gravel tyre specifically to suit the Ford Fiesta R2 that is used exclusively on the championship, in 175/70-15 K4 size.

Based on the vastly successful Scorpion cover that was used on the World Rally Championship from 2008-2010, the K4 WRC Academy tyre is lighter than the Scorpion with a focus on performance as well as outright durability.

Following an outstanding season in the WRC Academy including a hat-trick of victories, former Pirelli UK Star Driver Elfyn Evans was declared the championship winner at last month’s Rally de France.

The 23-year-old Welshman’s 50-point lead has meant it is mathematically impossible for any of the other crews to overhaul Evans with just one round remaining.

Underlining the success of the prestigious Pirelli Star Driver programme, former Pirelli-backed driver Brendan Reeves lies second.

The 23-year-old Australian has proved himself as one of the championship’s most consistent drivers having finished in the top five on every round this season.

Following a season-best second place at the recent Rallye de France, Spaniard Jose Suarez is only two points adrift of second-placed Reeves. Eager to clinch the covetered runner-up spot, Suarez will be targeting a podium result ahead of Reeves.

Tied in fourth place is Scottish driver John MacCrone and Swede Pontus Tidemand, withboth crews 15 points behind local driver Suarez.

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “The WRC Academy championship winner may have already been decided but the fight for the runner-up spot is shaping up to be an exciting battle.

Both the unexpected weather and the mixed road surfaces in Spain could provide a sting in the tail for the competitors at next weekend’s season finale.

Rally de Espana usually takes place earlier in the season where dry weather is more common but as this year’s event is taking place in November, we could expect to see some rain and cooler temperatures.

The mix of surfaces will also place an extra demand of the drivers as well as the tyres, because crews will have little time to adapt to the road surfaces and set-ups required.

Making the right choices will be essential in order to make the most of the proven performance and durability of both the asphalt and gravel tyres we will bring to Spain.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Elfyn Evans on winning this year’s championship with one round remaining. He is an exceptionally competent and consistent driver who has a bright future ahead of him.

As a former Pirelli Star Driver in the UK, he is the perfect example of a young rally talent who has been able to break onto the world scene with the backing of Pirelli, like so many before him.”

Source: Pirelli

shares
comments
 The end of an era for Citroen at Rally de España

Previous article

The end of an era for Citroen at Rally de España

Next article

On Rally Spain Volkswagen will use cars of the Group’s Skoda brand for the last time

On Rally Spain Volkswagen will use cars of the Group’s Skoda brand for the last time
Load comments
How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Prime

How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Prime

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Prime

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win.

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021