Pirelli equips Rallying's next generation for Sweden with Sottozero Ice

Pirelli equips Rallying's next generation for Sweden with Sottozero Ice

11.02.2019: Rally Sweden marks the beginning of the Junior World Rally Championship season, where some of rallying’s most promising young drivers will compete in identical, brand-new Ford Fiesta R2Ts prepared by M-Sport and fi

Rally Sweden marks the beginning of the Junior World Rally Championship season, where some of rallying’s most promising young drivers will compete in identical, brand-new Ford Fiesta R2Ts prepared by M-Sport and fitted with Pirelli tyres.

photo :The new Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta R2 that will be used in JWRC

Sweden is the first of five rounds in the JWRC, each with distinctly different characteristics that will test the drivers’ skills. On the calendar’s only full winter event, Pirelli will also equip many top drivers in the WRC2 class with its famous Sottozero Ice tyres, hoping to repeat its strong performance 12 months ago.

The challenge
: Rally Sweden stages take place on gravel roads covered in snow and ice, and they are also some of the fastest of the entire season. This is thanks largely to the grip offered by studded tyres that bite into the surface.

The JWRC competitors:
Thirteen drivers are entered for the JWRC opener, led by last year’s runner-up Dennis Radstrom, who won in Sweden last year and actually hails from Torsby, where the rally is based. Also returning for another year are Estonia’s Ken Torn (a protege of WRC contender Ott Tanak, a former Pirelli Star Driver), Germany’s Julius Tannert, Briton Tom Williams and Italian Enrico Oldrati.

Newcomers include Martins Sesks (Latvia) and Tom Kristensson (Sweden), who were first and second in the European Junior Under 27 category last year with Pirelli. Also joining the series are Roland Poom (Estonia), Jan Solans (Spain), Raul Badiu (Romania), Nico Knacker (Germany), Fabrizio Zaldivar (Paraguay) and Sean Johnston (United States).

The other Pirelli drivers:
The JWRC contenders will hope to follow in the footsteps of 2018 champion Emil Bergkvist, who steps up to WRC2 at his home event with his prize of a Ford Fiesta R5 complete with Pirelli tyre package. Also in a Fiesta R5 will be Takamoto Katsuta, the Japanese Toyota protege who took a shock WRC2 win with Pirelli against strong local opposition one year ago.

 Driving Skoda Fabias are Eerik Pietarinen and Nikolay Gryazin: last year’s Finnish champion and European Junior Under 28 champion respectively with Pirelli. Sweden’s World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson returns with the new Volkswagen Polo after claiming stage wins with Pirelli on last year’s event.

The product:
A single type of tyre will be used by each category in Sweden. The JWRC cars will be fitted with the Sottozero Ice WJ, which features 360 studs in each tyre. Pirelli’s WRC2 competitors will be supplied with the Sottozero Ice J1A – an evolution of the product that won the class in Sweden in 2018, with 384 studs in each tyre. Pirelli’s unique vulcanisation process helps to ensure that the studs stay in the tyre even when there is gravel on the stages.

The rules:
Drivers in JWRC and WRC2 are allowed to use up to 22 tyres during the event, with a separate allocation for the pre-event shakedown.

The event:
Rally Sweden runs from Thursday 14 February to Sunday 17 February with a 19 stages totalling 316.8 competitive kilometres. Much of Friday’s stages take place in neighbouring Norway.

photo:  Takamoto Katsuta won WRC2 in Sweden last year with Sottozero Ice

Pirelli quote: Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager:
“Sweden marks the beginning of the Junior World Rally Championship, on one of the most specialised events of the year. We’ve got an exciting array of new drivers and a brand new car in the JWRC, but exactly the same philosophy of doing our very best to promote the careers of up-and-coming young talents.

As well as some of our existing champions, we’re also delighted to welcome back Johan Kristoffersson, who has dominated the World Rallycross Championship recently and also shown plenty of promise in rallying.”

Anthony Peacock - photos Pirelli

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/pirelli-rallying-next-generation-sweden-sottozero-ice---186281.html

11.02.2019 / MaP

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