Published on October 7th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Rallye de France 2014 Review
Pirelli has scored a dominant one-two on Rallye de France this week with Quentin Gilbert heading home Bernardo Sousa in the WRC2 category. They finished two minutes ahead of the next highest-placed driver in their Ford Fiestas following 18 asphalt stages over 303.63 competitive kilometres around host city Strasbourg the French Alsace region.
Experiencing predominantly dry conditions, Gilbert and Sousa benefited from the high level of performance and durability provided by the hard compound RK5A Pirelli tyre. For Gilbert, the result not only marked his first victory in WRC2 – the principal support category to the World Rally Championship – it was also his first appearance using Pirelli rubber following a pre-event switch from another supplier.
Matteo Braga, Pirelli’s senior tyre engineer, said: “This was a very good result after great performances from Quentin and Bernardo. Both drivers were very happy with their Pirelli tyres and said the confidence they gained from using the tyres was key to their success. They used the hard compound RK5A tyre for much of the rally, which worked very well, even when they experienced some damp conditions, although Bernardo took three soft compound tyres and three hard for the final leg because there was a possibility of rain. We had no failures all rally and Bernardo said he could have been even closer to Quentin had he not made a couple of very small mistakes.”
There was also a strong performance from Johan Heloise, who won the WRC2 Production division at his first attempt in a Pirelli-shod Subaru Impreza. Meanwhile, fellow Frenchman Julien Maurin was a season-best 12th overall at the wheel of a Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car.
Despite not electing Rallye de France as one of his point-scoring rounds, Pirelli-supported Lorenzo Bertelli continues to top the WRC2 standings ahead of the penultimate event of the season, Rally RACC-Rallye de Espana, from October 23-26. The rally features one day on mainly gravel stages with two legs run entirely on asphalt.