Hot at its hottest and rough at its roughest – that’s what Pirelli was chasing for its maiden 2021 World Rally Championship tire test this week. Sardinia delivered.
Andreas Mikkelsen donned the Italian firm’s black overalls for the first time to steer a Citroën C3 WRC through two arduous days of running in an effort to provide a development benchmark on both asphalt and gravel.
Mission accomplished, according to Pirelli’s rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni.
He told DirtFish: “Despite the very hot and challenging conditions in Sardinia – which were exactly what we were looking for – we were able to get through our entire test programme with no setbacks at all.
“The test helped us to understand the development path for 2021 on both gravel and asphalt, considering the very high aerodynamic loads generated by the latest generation of World Rally Cars.
“Andreas and Anders [Jæger, co-driver] did a perfect job and the C3 WRC performed perfectly as well.”
The focus of the day of loose surface running was to understand the compound extremities between the hardest and softest Pirelli covers.
“On gravel, we tested the hard compound tire, with a focus on reducing wear, and the soft compound as well, in order to better understand the gap between the two different specifications we will use in the world championship next year,” Testoni added.
The day of asphalt running delivered the results Testoni was looking for.
“On asphalt we were able to look at a couple of different prototypes to correlate the car dynamics with the demands on the tires,” he said. “The concept of our initial prototypes proved to have a good basis, which is very encouraging for the future.
“Now we will analyze all the data we collected back at our headquarters in Milan to see which changes we can make for the next tests, which will be back in Sardinia next month.”