How the Pirelli drivers performed: Pirelli drivers filled the podium, with the Italian firm now leading both championships after the opening round. Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk won the rally overall in his Citroen C3 R5, 16 seconds ahead of Giandomenico Basso’s Volkswagen Polo GTI, who headed the Italian standings. In third place overall was teenage sensation Oliver Solberg, the son of Pirelli’s 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg, in another Volkswagen Polo GTI. It was Solberg’s asphalt debut on the European Rally Championship, with the young Swede concentrating mainly on his World Rally Championship campaign this year.
The challenge: Rally di Roma delivered a unique challenge with demanding stages on slippery asphalt in warm summer temperatures, meaning that the tyres had to perform consistently on a wide variety of surfaces and be resistant to wear.
The tyres: The Pirelli drivers had the P Zero RA asphalt tyres available, with the hard-compound RA5 mainly used in the hot conditions.
Pirelli across the board: As well as overall victory, Pirelli tyres actually won twice on the Italian Rally Championship, as the event was split into two scoring rounds. Basso won the first day, with Andrea Crugnola winning day two in another Citroen C3. Pirelli tyres also exclusively supplied the Junior championships for two-wheel drive cars on both the European and Italian series, bringing on the next generation of talent.
From Europe to the world: Pirelli’s experience on the European Rally Championship, as well as other national series, complement its test programme for the World Rally Championship, where it will become exclusive tyre partner from next year. Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen is test driver for the new generation of World Rally Championship tyres, with a dedicated Citroen C3 WRC.
Pirelli quote: Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager: “As a showcase for Italy and international rallying, Rally di Roma was particularly important this year as it marked a long-awaited return to action. This was a long and closely-fought rally in hot conditions, with asphalt temperatures in excess of 50 degrees centigrade to make it a particularly tough test for the tyres. Different types of asphalt added to the challenge, with a high risk of punctures. Despite that, our tyres performed perfectly on a wide range of cars to dominate the overall podium and all the classes. Congratulations to all the drivers and particularly 18-year-old Oliver Solberg, on the podium on his first experience of this tricky event.”