Loeb takes record-busting 8th Rallye Deutschland victory on Pirelli tires

Jan. 1, 2020
Sebastien Loeb has won Germany's Rallye Deutschland for a record-setting eighth time while riding on Pirelli P Zero tires.

Sebastien Loeb has won Germany’s Rallye Deutschland for a record-setting eighth time while riding on Pirelli P Zero tires.

Driving a Citroen C4 World Rally Car along with co-driver Daniel Elena, Loeb, a six-time world champion, was fastest on nine of 19 special stages in this season’s thus-far longest World Championship Rally (WRC) event. It was Loeb’s 59th victory on the WRC circuit.

Loeb and Elena bested Citroen teammate Dani Sordo by 51.3 seconds in the final classification to claim the checkered flag.

“It’s a good win for me and I’m really pleased,” says Loeb, “but I have to say this was not my best victory in Germany. The weather was dry from the start so the conditions were not as difficult as they have been in the past. That meant there was less pressure on me and less satisfaction to have won. But it was still not easy because this is always a difficult rally with lots of surface changes. However, I had no problems with my tires and the wear rate was good.”

Loeb says the tires performed well even during the toughest stage of the race.

As well as remaining dry, baking hot sunshine coated the rally route throughout the weekend with ambient temperatures peaking at 88 degrees and the ground temperature rising to 104 degrees on Saturday afternoon.

 

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“It has been another successful rally for Pirelli,” says Matteo Braga, the company’s senior WRC tire engineer. “We have seen a few cars come back to service with broken wheel rims, caused by hitting curbs or stones, but with the tire still inflated or not damaged. This is very good because it proves the reinforced side walls that feature on the Pirelli P Zero tires work really well and do their job. In fact there have only been three punctures where the tire has been damaged, which is very impressive because this is a long rally with many surface changes.”

Both hard and soft compound P Zeros were made available for Rallye Deutschland’s drivers. The soft compound version is designed for cool and wet conditions; the hard compound is for hot, dry weather.

“In the morning stages most drivers opted for the soft compound tire because it provided better grip, but in the heat of Saturday afternoon some drivers, including Sebastien Loeb, chose the soft compound tire, which can work when the surface is less abrasive and the corners are not so long,” explains Mario Isola, Pirelli’s rally manager. “It was an experiment by him, but we found that while there was some degradation, it did not cause a performance disadvantage. This is very satisfying because it showed the performance of this compound can be good in hot conditions.”

Along with supplying tires to the main WRC field as part of a three-year agreement, the P Zeros tires are used by competitors in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship, which was fought out between P-G Andersson, Martin Prokop and Patrik Sandell. After three days of close competition, Sandell prevailed.

Production Car World Rally Championship crews also use the P Zero tires as standard. Armindo Araujo, the reigning class champion, took the honors in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X ahead of Pirelli Star Driver Hayden Paddon.

The Pirelli Star Driver program gives the opportunity for five promising young talents, Nick Georgiou, Peter Horsey, Paddon, Alex Raschi and Ott Tanak, to contest six rounds of the World Rally Championship in identical Pirelli-backed Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Xs.

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Hans Weijs Jr took victory in the Junior World Rally Championship category in his Citroën C2 Super 16000 using Pirelli’s RX tire, which was used by crews in the young driver class for the first time on Rally Bulgaria in early July.

WRC competition resumes during the gravel-based, Sept. 8-12 Rally Japan. Pirelli will provide its Scorpion tire in soft compound only to take into account the cold and damp conditions that characterize the Sapporo event.

For more information, visit www.us.pirelli.com.

 

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