What Bottas made of Pirelli’s rally tires

The nine-time Grand Prix winner tried a different kind of rubber at last week's Arctic Lapland Rally


Valtteri Bottas knows a thing or two about making Pirellis work.

He knows, for example, that when he charges into one of Formula 1’s most majestic of sequences – Silverstone’s Maggots-Becketts-Chapel – the red-lettered C3 P Zeros beneath his Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 will haul him through five apexes in the blink of an eye.

Take him of the track and set the Finn into the frozen forests, what then? Turns out his faith in the Italian boots is just as strong. Especially when it comes to Pirelli’s all-new Sottozero WJ tires – the ones with the longest studs in history.

Bottas bolted some onto his DS 3 WRC at last week’s Arctic Lapland Rally and was as impressed as he would be with a set of sticky slicks in Q3.

“The new tires I tried were very impressive,” he said. “There was a big improvement on braking performance and traction. The high-speed behavior and durability were also good, and I enjoyed the experience a lot.”

That made Pirelli’s rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni happy: “It was a fantastic debut for the new Sottozero WJ, designed for extreme snow and ice conditions, such as we saw on the Arctic Rally.

“We were very pleased by the extra grip delivered from this innovative tire on a wide variety of cars, as even Valtteri Bottas was able to testify.”

Words:David Evans

Image:Hannu Rainamo