D even before the classic tire, which from 1973 onwards numerous rally teams international rally successes, is available to all private teams, it is tested in different sizes on different rally cars. For this purpose, the Italian tire baker brings together the four-time rally world champion Juha Kankkunen, Markku Alén and the current test driver Paolo Andreucci: A fleet of vehicles from the Lancia Stratos to the Peugeot 206 Super 2000 is available for the rally aces many test kilometers
'The construction and D5 compound of the tire corresponds to the original Pirelli P7 Corsa,' explains Terenzio Testoni, who is responsible for development in the motorsport department. Paolo Andreucci covered a total of 2,000 test kilometers in a Lancia 037, an ex-service car from the Italian Jolly Club team. “It was our goal to develop the tire in such a way that it immediately offers the necessary grip both in dry and wet conditions and gives the driver a good driving experience,” says the multiple Italian rally champion Andreucci, describing the specifications.
Tire test on a Lancia Stratos
Markku Alén is the first to start in the Lancia Stratos: all eyes at the service station in San Bernardo di Conio, 986 meters above sea level in the Ligurian Alps, are looking at the rear of the iconic one Rally cars with the crispy sound of the Ferrari V6 just disappearing behind the first left turn. The track is part of one of the selective stages of the San Remo Rally. In 1978, Alén won this rally, which was then held as a world championship race, in a Stratos, with which the now 61-year-old Finn is testing the new classic tire for the first time. As if Alén's comeback had to be made even more dramatic, a cloud of fog snakes across the ridge above the asphalt runway.
Markku Alén is satisfied
The Stratos roars back to the service area. A mechanic opens the door and captain Alén reports from the cockpit: “Although it's still cold, he seems to have good grip. Very well!'. Test driver Paolo Andreucci grins proudly and Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director, smiles with satisfaction. Even if he is in charge of supplying the Formula 1 teams, he is a rally fan at heart. “When I was ten years old, I got Markku Alénseen with the Stratos in the Wallish forests: I have never forgotten. ”
Authentic tire for many rally cars
The Englishman, who has worked for the Italian tire manufacturer for 20 years, was planning a the idea of relaunching the Pirelli P7 Corsa for a few years 'The drivers of such cars, which we have here with us, had to fall back on tires that did not really fit the car,' says Hembery, who as a director is of course a good businessman. 2,500 tires are to be sold this year, with a maximum of .5000 tires per year from Pirelli - price per set: 1,600 euros. 'We won't earn any money with it,' says his employee Testoni.
Youth experience 2.0 during tire test drives
'For us it is important to maintain our own history', Hembery says while putting a helmet on himself. For the first time he is driving alongside his youth hero Markku Alén in the Lancia Stratos, experiencing the on-board perspective of his first rally experience. “It will be the best day of my motorsport life,” he will say afterwards. His head is already full of further plans to bring back the tires that have celebrated successes on Pirelli's black gold in their current era: for example the Italian Grand Prix car from the 1950s.
Judgment of a four-time world champion
Then Juha Kankkunen ignites the Lancia 037. Tester Andreucci drove all tests with this model, now this will follow Judgment of the four-time world champion, who does not have far from his adopted home Monaco to the test track in the hinterland of San Remo. Kankkunen competed in 1983 as a Toyota discovery at its first World Championship starts against the Lancia. Now he's chasing the black rally flounder down the winding mountain road as if he had chased opponents like Markku Alén or Walter Röhrl in the car 29 years ago. 'A real gentleman tire,' says Kankkunen while he is back at the service and lights a cigarillo with relish. “They are real Finnish ones, I've been smoking them for 20 years,” says the Finn and laughs. What has proven itself in the past should be continued.