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Pirelli's testing for their return the World Rally Championship continued last week when Andreas Mikkelsen drove a Citroën C3 World Rally Car for two days in Sardinia. The Norwegian spent a day each on gravel and asphalt to kick-start Pirelli’s intensive development schedule as it moves towards the first of a four-year supply deal to the WRC’s manufacturer teams. Conditions on the Italian island were typically hot and dry, offering tough running for the Norwegian and the tyres. Pirelli’s rally activity manager, Terenzio Testoni, reported positive results from the firm’s first test of its 2021-specification tyres. Testoni said: “The test helped us to understand the development path for 2021 on both gravel and asphalt, considering the very high aerodynamic loads generated by the latest generation of World Rally Cars. Andreas and Anders [co-driver Jæger] did a perfect job and the C3 WRC performed perfectly as well.

Pirelli has been testing their 2021 rally tyres in Italy. Photo: Peter Whitten

“Despite the very hot and challenging conditions in Sardinia, which were exactly what we were looking for, we were able to get through our entire test programme with no setbacks at all. “On gravel we tested the hard compound tyre, with a focus on reducing wear, and the soft compound as well, in order to better understand the gap between the two different specifications we will use in the world championship next year.” On tarmac, Pirelli delved deeper into the prototype development rubber. “On asphalt we were able to look at a couple of different prototypes to correlate the car dynamics with the demands on the tyres,” added Testoni. “The concept of our initial prototypes proved to have a good basis, which is very encouraging for the future. Now we will analyse all the data we collected back at our headquarters in Milan to see which changes we can make for the next tests, which will be back in Sardinia next month.”

Pirelli's tarmac rally tyre. Photo: Peter Whitten

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