Pirelli's Scorpion tires propel Ogier to WRC Rally Japan victory

Jan. 1, 2020
Sebastien Ogier secured his second World Rally Championship (WRC) win at the recent Rally Japan while riding on Pirelli's soft-compound Scorpion tire.
Sebastien Ogier secured his second World Rally Championship (WRC) win at the recent Rally Japan while riding on Pirelli's soft-compound Scorpion tire.

"I'm very happy because this is my first time in Japan and I did not expect to take the victory, so it's really amazing," says Ogier, who races in a Citroen.

"As usual we had no problems with our Pirelli tires because they are very strong and gave a good performance," he reports.

"Very quickly we found a good rhythm and confidence in the car, which was perfect all rally. I was very happy with my drives in Portugal, where I also won, and in Finland, but this weekend was different because I had to be more strategic," notes Ogier. "I didn't know the stages, so on the first two days I had to be careful, but when they were new for every driver I had a big push and it worked very well for me."

 

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"The wear rate of the tires was very low on Friday and we saw a lot of tires coming back to service looking almost new, even though the ground temperature was 33 degrees centigrade," recounts Matteo Braga, Pirelli's senior WRC tire engineer.

"That's obviously a good thing because it means the performance of the soft-compound tire stayed consistent. On Saturday there were lots of sharp stones on the stages, which can easily cut the tread, but there wasn't any significant damage caused to the tires because of this and that is very satisfying," he adds.

"Overall, this has been another very successful rally for Pirelli and I am pleased to say that only 770 tires were required by our 55 crews because the wear rate was so low with no tire failures," says Braga. "Some privateer crews used 12 tires for the entire 303 competitive kilometers, while one driver used just six tires."

Mikko Hirvonen, who had been in the thick of the lead battle until a technical fault dropped him back on the final morning, used just four tires over Sunday's eight stages after electing not to use the spare tire, which the WRC's technical regulations require him to carry, due to the consistent and durable nature of the rubber, according to Braga.

"Despite the punishing stage conditions, Pirelli's Scorpion tire, which uses a reinforced sidewall to counter the threat of deflations, proved extremely resilient," he continues.

"Even the damaged right-rear tire that Petter Solberg suffered on stage four after clouting a bank was re-inflated by Pirelli's engineers when it was returned to the service park in Sapporo, owing to the fact that the loss of air was caused by a damaged wheel rather than a puncture, although the incident caused the 2003 world champion very little time loss," says Braga.

 

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Solberg, who captured the first of Pirelli's four wins in Rally Japan back in 2004, took second in his Citroen with Jari-Matti Latvala coming in third.

Up next on the WRC schedule is the Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 Rallye de France. The all-asphalt event, which is based in Strasbourg in the Alsace region of the country, concludes with a stage in Sebastien Loeb's home town of Haguenau, where victory for the Citroen driver would make him world champion for a seventh time.

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

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