Elfyn Evans says Pirelli’s range of Monte Carlo Rally tires has the potential to be quicker than last year’s Michelins in certain conditions.
Pirelli has been guarded on its performance predictions ahead of next week’s season opener, preferring to talk about the need for consistency and durability rather than outright pace.
But, following his first mileage on the P Zero and Sottozero tires last weekend, Evans – pictured above on last year’s Monte Carlo Rally – said times could be faster than last year’s.
“The tires are different from what we’ve been used to,” Evans told DirtFish, “and it’s going to be interesting to see how they work in different conditions.
“The super-soft tire is still super soft and the winter tire with studs is still a winter tire with studs, but what we don’t know is what window they will work in.
“We don’t know, for example, how they’ll work as a combination of tires across a loop of stages where the first one is snow and then second one has mixed conditions.
“Because these are new for us, it’ll take time to understand the tires in the evolving conditions. But, in certain conditions, I think the Pirelli will be more suitable and can be [quicker than last year].
“The trouble is, it’s a year since we’ve run on these kind of tires.
“OK, we used some of them in Monza last year, but the conditions weren’t the same, so you have to go back to Monte last year to think about how they felt and how they were.”
Evans and former M-Sport team-mate Ott Tänak are the only two drivers who have extensive experience of using another tire supplier other than Michelin in the last decade.
Both drivers ran DMACKs aboard a factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, with Evans taking his maiden WRC success – Rally GB, 2017 – on DMACKs (pictured above).
“We saw this sort of thing with the DMACKs,” said Evans.
“In certain conditions, in a certain window of stages, the DMACK would be a little bit better suited than the Michelin, it’ll be the same thing this year with the Pirellis.”
Evans’ Toyota team-mate Sébastien Ogier had his second day of testing brought to an early finish after a crash on Wednesday morning.
Toyota said that both Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrasia were OK, but that Ingrasia would be taken for “routine checks”.