By Alex Kapadia
By Pirelli’s new winter tyres, closely related to the company’s road car products, have performed outstandingly in the only all-snow event in the 2009 World Rally Championship.
The re-designed Sottozero ‘ice’ tyres were heaped with praise from champion Sebastian Loeb following Rally Norway at the weekend.
Despite being used on surfaces over the three-days in Hamar too slippery for most people to stand up on, Loeb felt they performed perfectly in the demanding conditions.
Indeed none of the front-running crews reported problems with stud-loss or punctures.
Loeb said: “These were classic winter conditions and we had very good grip from the Pirelli Sottozeros.
“Sometimes, when you could see the ice, it was hard to believe just how much grip there was from the tyres.”
Pirelli rally manager Mario Isola meanwhile was very happy to see the new tyres come through their first event with flying colours.
Isola said: “We’re delighted that our new snow tyre has made such a competitive and problem-free debut in these extremely wintry conditions, where temperatures were sometimes close to minus 30 degrees Celsius.
“Although this tyre is of a different design to our asphalt and gravel rally tyres, it is still closely related to Pirelli’s road car products, underlining the fact that motorsport provides us with the ultimate research and development tool for our high-performance and all-weather road tyres.”