Kudos for Pirelli at WRC finale
Pirelli was awarded the exclusive agreement in 2008 and since then it has supplied a total of 27,995 tires for use on 40 WRC events on snow, ice, asphalt and gravel, covering more than 14,000 kilometers of special stages.
Under the terms of its contract with the FIA, Pirelli was challenged to focus on durability rather than outright performance when developing its P Zero, Scorpion and Sottozero range of WRC tires, albeit without using mousse inserts. It is therefore great testament to the advanced design and meticulous production processes employed by Pirelli that of those 27,995 tires supplied, only 43 have suffered failures on the punishing terrain encountered on world championship rallies, a percentage of just 0.1536.
Although Pirelli won't compete for outright victory on WRC events next season, when it begins its three-year agreement as the official tire supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship, the company remains fully committed to rallying and will contest several national and international series in 2011 as well as supplying tires to the new WRC Academy, a training category for young drivers starting out in the sport's highest echelon.
"We didn't have any problems, no punctures, everybody was on the same level, and the tires were competitive," said Olivier Quesnel, the boss of the Citroën Total World Rally Team, which has won the manufacturers' title for the last three seasons with Pirelli. "The support has been really good and we regret Pirelli are not in the WRC next year."
Christian Loriaux, the technical director of the rival Ford team, said, “It has been a fantastic three years and I've congratulated them (Pirelli) so many times. They have always been very professional with a good and consistent product and provided a very good level of service. They have also been very fair in everything they do and there are a lot of very nice guys in the Pirelli team who have become friends."
The completion of Pirelli's three-year involvement in the WRC coincided with an eighth victory of the season for the seven-time world champion Sébastien Loeb, who defeated Petter Solberg and Jari-Matti Latvala in a tense finish to register Pirelli's 180th victory at world championship level. Driving a factory-prepared Citroën C4 WRC, Loeb completed the 344.96-kilometer route in damp and slippery conditions, with a winning margin of 19.1s on the final event for the current generation of World Rally Cars.
"When I heard that Latvala had a problem with his tire on Friday I knew it would be because of a problem with the rim, because with the Pirelli tire you don't have punctures," said Loeb. "It has been a very good three years with no problems at all."