For the Spanish round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Catalunya, Pirelli will bring a brand-new tire to help drivers and teams tackle the fastest asphalt race of the calendar.
Following the two asphalt events held in Croatia and Belgium earlier this year, Pirelli developed the new P Zero RA WRC HA hard compound, with a view to the tire being used on the next generation of hybrid rally cars. Ahead of the tire’s debut this weekend, teams have carried out several tests in Spain. The P Zero RA WRC HA features a redesigned construction, especially on the tire’s shoulder, to ensure it is more resistant to impacts than its previous iteration.
The Pirelli tires chosen for use in the top tier of the WRC in Spain will include the P Zero RA WRC in two compounds. The new hard compound tire (P Zero RA WRC HA) will be the main choice for teams when attacking the longer stages in dry conditions with higher track temperatures, while the soft compound version will be utilized for mixed dry and damp conditions in cooler temperatures.
A dedicated rain tire, the Cinturato RWB, will be used by all 4WD categories of the Championship. These have been developed to provide grip on extremely wet asphalt, with a tread pattern capable of effective water evacuation, lessening the chance of aquaplaning.
“Catalunya is one of the toughest events of the year with perhaps the toughest asphalt to master. It’s a rapid event with plenty of fast corners – as well as traction and braking – which takes a lot out of the tires,” commented Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli rally activity manager. “On top of that, there’s an additional challenge from what are normally quite high ambient temperatures as well as some abrasive surfaces: although the majority of the roads are smooth.
“Our latest evolution, the P Zero RA WRC HA tire, has been designed to give the drivers a good feeling of consistency and reliability, which is particularly important on a rally like this one, when tire strategy can play a key role in the outcome. A smooth and studied approach tends to pay off in Spain, as a scrappy driving style can cost vital seconds.
“There are also some new and demanding stages that are going to be interesting to learn this year as Spain returns to an all-asphalt format. This year’s Junior WRC concludes in Spain, which is a category vital to Pirelli’s sporting philosophy of supporting young drivers as they make their way up the ladder.”
A total of 3,200 tires will be brought to Spain by Pirelli, with 900 set aside for the top class of the WRC. Each car will have an allocation of 32 P Zero RA WRC HA (hard compound), 24 P Zero RA WRC (soft compound) and 12 Cinturato RWB.