Pirelli’s brand new P Zero RA asphalt rally tyre, which made a winning debut on the World Rally Championship in Corsica two months ago, has claimed its second major international win on the trot, courtesy of Pepe Lopez on the Rally Islas Canarias: round two of the European Rally Championship.
The Spanish Citroen Rally Team driver fought with the similar C3 R5 of reigning champion Alexey Lukyanuk, also on Pirelli tyres, throughout the opening day before the Russian clipped the inside of a corner on Saturday morning.
Rally Islas Canarias is one of the most demanding asphalt events on the entire European Rally Championship. Two-time world champion Carlos Sainz is a five-time winner of the rally, which is characterised by rapid and twisty roads that resemble a racing circuit in places.
The precise turn-in and stability of the P Zero RA came into its own to see off its rivals, with Lopez mainly using the RA5 hard compound. The Spaniard was quick right from the beginning of the weekend, having won the Qualifying Stage as well, and also claiming ERC1 Junior honours at the end of the rally.
The Pirelli-equipped ERC3 Junior category, for up-and-coming drivers in two-wheel drive cars, was won by Jean-Baptiste Franceschi in a Ford Fiesta R2. Like all the two-wheel drive competitors, the Frenchman used the tried and trusted P Zero RK5 hard compound tyre, underlining the winning versatility of Pirelli’s range.
It wasn’t just on asphalt where Pirelli tyres tasted success this weekend: on gravel, Skoda Fabia R5 driver Stephane Consani won the Rally Adriatico in Italy, using gravel Scorpion tyres.
Pirelli’s rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni concluded: “Rally Islas Canarias is known as one of the most selective asphalt rallies, and the second consecutive major international win for the new P Zero RA asphalt rally tyre following its WRC2 success in Corsica underlines the difference that this tyre makes on sealed surfaces. Lopez was on stellar form throughout the weekend, taking on the very top contenders in the European Rally Championship to secure a momentous first victory. The new P Zero RA was a significant part of his win, giving him and co-driver Borja Rozada the confidence needed to put in an exemplary performance under demanding circumstances. Congratulations also to Stephane Consani and co-driver Thibault De La Haye, whose performance on gravel led to another important Pirelli victory – sweeping the board on both surfaces.”
Source - Press.Pirelli.com