World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb set a new record by posting his 11th win of the season in the recent Wales Rally. Loeb’s win, together with a third place for teammate Dani Sordo, secured the manufacturers championship for the Citroen-Pirelli tyres team.
The welsh rally marked the end of the first World Rally Championship under the single tyre rule. Driving conditions were difficult throughout the event, but the Pirelli Scorpion, soft compound tyres handled the icy conditions admirably. Jari-Matti Latvala, in his Ford Focus-Pirelli, took an early lead, which he held until the final stage. As the race came to a close, Loeb fought back, finishing strongly to win by 12.7 seconds.
Rally Great Britain also decided the Production Car World Rally Championship (PCWRC), with Austria’s Andreas Aigner claiming his first PCWRC title. Aigner was beaten by Patrick Flodin in his Subaru Impreza, but second position was enough to secure the title for the Austrian in the Mitsubishi.
Mario Isola, Rally Manager at Pirelli was pleased with the way things had gone in the first year of the Pirelli era, saying, “As could maybe have been expected, conditions on the Rally Great Britain in December were very cold and slippery. Nonetheless, our Scorpion tyres have coped well with the challenge and demonstrated a high degree of driveability, as has been the case throughout the whole of the year. It’s clear that when you have exactly the same tyre that needs to be used in a wide variety of places and weather conditions, it becomes a question of finding the best compromise – which we believe that we have found. It is also worth nothing that, contrary to some peoples’ fears before the start of the season, there has been an extremely limited number of punctures over the course of the year and this was also the case on the Wales Rally Great Britain. In conclusion, it has been an extremely successful first season for Pirelli, and now we look forward with optimism to 2009.”