Former Pirelli UK Star Driver Elfyn Evans is eager to extend his 35-point lead over Australia’s Brendan Reeves when the penultimate round of the Pirelli-backed WRC Academy takes place in Strasbourg next week (4-7 October).
Rally de France Alsace will mark the second all-asphalt round of the WRC Academy calendar and is an event that requires high levels of concentration due a mix of narrow and fast road conditions, as well as constantly changing road surfaces. Based in the city of Strasbourg, north-west France, the three-day rally uses stages close to Haguenau: the home of eight-time world rally champion, Sebastien Loeb, and Colmar: a town which houses the world’s largest replica of the Statue of Liberty.
The fifth round of this year’s WRC Academy will challenge 10 young drivers over 16 special stages and Pirelli will be on hand to supply the crews with its highly competitive RX5 and RE7 asphalt tyres.
The RX family of tyres is among the most versatile in Pirelli’s competition range thanks to a lightly grooved tread pattern, a square profile and a particularly rigid structure. These characteristics help steering precision and provide a rapid response, while maintaining the strength and durability to cope with prolonged high speeds and longer stages. The RX5 will be used in dry conditions with the RE7 available in the event of cold and damp conditions.
Following an outstanding season so far including three back-to-back victories, former Pirelli Star Driver Elfyn Evans is leading the six-round WRC Academy by 35 points. Evans is also leading his home championship: the Pirelli-supported British Rally Championship but has elected to skip the closing round this weekend due to his WRC Academy commitment.
Proving the success of the prestigious Pirelli Star Driver programme, former Pirelli-backed driver Brendan Reeves is second in the standings. The 23-year-old Australian has enjoyed a superb season having claimed four top four finishes. Only 10 points behind Reeves is Briton Alastair Fisher who took the spoils on the championship’s opening round in Portugal and who will be feeling extra confident having won last year’s WRC Academy round in France.
Spaniard Jose Suarez is currently fourth in the standings, three points clear of Swede Pontus Tidemand, who rounds off the top five.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “With uncertain weather quite common in Alsace at this time of year, Rallye de France will be a tough test for our Academy drivers. We have the same tyre selection as we did for the previous round in Germany but this time conditions should be more inconsistent. France is a rally that is won by using the head as much as the right foot but the versatility of the RX tyre in particular means that the drivers will retain optimal levels of control despite the unpredictability of the surfaces. The WRC Academy is all about finding champions of the future, which is a key priority for Pirelli underlined by our GP2 and GP3 campaigns in circuit racing: the feeder series for Formula One. In the same way, we hope that the experience the WRC Academy drivers gain of running on our tyres and making the right decisions about how to use them will prepare them effectively for the very top of the sport.”
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