Next year’s World Rally Championship testing schedule is getting even busier, as more test days have been added to the teams’ allocations to learn the new Pirelli rubber amid COVID-19 delays spanning back to March.
Tires for the WRC’s top class will be exclusively supplied by Pirelli as of next month’s Monte Carlo Rally, and each manufacturer now has nine extra days in 2021 it can spend on learning the new compounds after a decision made by the World Motor Sport Council.
Pirelli had completed its own testing program over the summer and fall months but setbacks owing to the COVID-19 pandemic meant teams didn’t get a chance to run the new tires until last week, leaving them with little data to prepare for the season ahead.
All three factory teams already face a busy 2021 test schedule as they get ready to implement the new 2022 hybrid regulations, with Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and Toyota having already been given 30 days of testing allocation to prepare for the rules switch.
Hyundai and Toyota sampled the new Pirelli tires for the first time around the Gap region of southern France, less than a month before their full competition debut in the same region for the Monte Carlo Rally.
M-Sport skipped the test, owing to its 2021 driver line-up still being resolved.
Pirelli has tested extensively in private with a Citroën C3 WRC and even brought the car and its gravel compound to Rally Italy for a full-speed demonstration run on the rally’s powerstage, where it was piloted by Petter Solberg and Andreas Mikkelsen.