Andreucci and Pirelli target more success on Targa Florio
Multiple Italian Rally Champion and current series leader Paolo Andreucci is targeting more success with Pirelli on the all-asphalt Targa Florio next weekend: an event that he has won six times already.
This year, however, the Sicilian event takes on a new dimension, as for the first time it will also be a scoring round of the highly competitive Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which is backed by television giant Eurosport.
This means that some of the top international stars will also come to Sicily to take on Andreucci and Pirelli. “I think it will be some of the strongest competition I have ever faced there,” said Peugeot Italia driver Andreucci. “I have seen the quality of the IRC drivers before, when they came to Sardinia, and I know that we will have a very big fight on our hands. But thanks to the support we have from our engineers and Pirelli, we certainly have the equipment to be challenging for victory: hopefully the driver is also able to challenge for the win again as well!”
The legendary Targa Florio on the Italian island of Sicily is one of the oldest motorsport events in the world, celebrating its 96th running this year from 14-16 June. The world famous rally, which has lent its name to many road cars such as the iconic Porsche 911 Targa, is characterized by its bumpy and mountainous asphalt roads, together with a series of hairpin bends that will challenge the tires to the very limit. Andreucci, who developed Pirelli’s highly successful tires for the World Rally Championship from 2008-2010, is confident that the P Zero asphalt rubber will give him both the performance and durability required to challenge for victory once more on the 151-kilometre event.
Pirelli will bring its RX7 tires to the Targa Florio, while the harder RX5 compound may also be used on some longer stages. The RX family of tires 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. Conditions in Sicily are expected to be warm and dry, but the RX tire can also cope well with damp conditions – underlining the adaptability of Pirelli’s competition products.
Other drivers who will be using Pirelli tires on the Targa Florio include Giandomenico Basso,another former Italian champion who will be driving the Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Car that he took to victory on the Mille Miglia at the beginning of the year. Local driver Marco Runfola steps up to a Peugeot 207 S2000 for his home event, having finished third overall last year. Matteo Gamba is currently third in the Italian Championship standings with another Pirelli-equipped Peugeot, which he will drive again in Sicily, together with Alessandro Perico in a similar car.
Pirelli driver Simone Campedelli will be defending his lead of the junior and two-wheel drive championships in his Citroen DS3 R3T, while the Pirelli-equipped Renault Twingo Trophy will also be present in Sicily.
Pirelli’s product manager Terenzio Testoni commented: “The Targa Florio will be one of the biggest tests of the year for our tires, as the opposition we face from theIntercontinental Rally Challenge regulars will be fierce. Nonetheless, the latest tests we have carried out with the RX tires have shown very promising results, and their performance is extremely well-suited to the demanding Sicilian roads in all temperatures. These roads tend to be made of old, slippery and bumpy asphalt, but the RX7 manages to generate good grip and makes up for the inconsistency of the surface, making the cars easier to drive. We may use the harder RX5 as well on longer stages”
The Targa Florio rally gets underway in Palermo on the evening of Thursday 14 June, with a super special stage around the streets of Sicily’s capital. The rally ends on the evening of Saturday 16 June after 11 special stages.