Pirelli is expected to release an improved version of the Scorpion KX WRC tire for this weekend’s Rally Portugal. The event will be the first gravel race in the WRC since the Rally1 cars debuted.
Portugal will provide a completely new challenge for drivers on its loose surface. Pirelli has revised the tire to ensure there’s enough grip.
It’s more versatile than its asphalt equivalent and is built to handle sharp rocks and stones while minimizing the chances of a puncture.
Terenzio Testone, Pirelli’s activity manager, believes that Portugal is the perfect test for the new Pirelli tires.
“As the first gravel rally of the season, Portugal will be a big test for the teams and their new cars, and the first chance to see how they compare on the most common surface in the WRC,” he said.
“It’s also the first opportunity to deploy the new HA and SA compounds of our Scorpion KX WRC tyres.
“These combine what we learned during our first season back in the WRC last year, with the special characteristics demanded by the latest Rally1 cars.”
As long as the weather remains clear, the hard compounds will most likely be the most popular choice. However, it’s possible that overnight showers could change things.
“The hard and rocky base of the stages in Portugal means the hard compound is the main choice here, but we can also expect the soft to be popular for the first pass of stages and especially if it rains,” Testoni added.
“A wide range of weather and surface conditions are possible, so this should provide a good all-round test for the tires.”