WRC teams call on Pirelli to investigate tire failures

Esapekka Lappi, Craig Breen and Ott Tänak were all affected on Saturday afternoon in Sweden


World Rally Championship teams have called on Pirelli to investigate the three tire failures which occurred during this afternoon’s Rally Sweden stages.

Hyundai drivers Esapekka Lapppi and Craig Breen suffered tire delaminations on their i20 N Rally1s on SS13, while Ott Tänak appeared to suffer a similar issue on the next test.

The problem cost Lappi the most with his car sliding into a snowbank, ruling the Finn out of the fight for victory.

Lappi, who lost seven minutes, told DirtFish: “On the second [to] last straight, basically I had some vibration and then it disappeared. I didn’t realize what happened. We did a few corners. I didn’t realize I had no studs left. The last corner was a long left and we had no chance.”

Informed that Breen had suffered the same fate, he added: “Yeah he had [it on the] front-left. It seems a common problem – [one] that never happened before, at least for me.”

Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul told DirtFish: “We confirm it was a tire-related problem. There’s no particular comment to be made; it’s motorsport, it’s WRC. We have all been pushing to the limits the competitiveness of the car.

“We will be working with Pirelli overnight to try to understand what happened when we have more information in relation to the stage.”

M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener wouldn’t be drawn on Tänak’s problem.

WRC 2023

He said: “Naturally we’re very keen for Pirelli to investigate what happened to Ott’s tire. We’re not about to jump to any conclusions – we can’t say definitively that we’ve had the same issues as anybody else in the service park.

“We’d like to have some feedback quickly on this and we’re working with Pirelli to figure out what caused the issue.”

DirtFish has sought comment from Pirelli.

Words:David Evans