Pirelli Era's FIA WRC to End with a Duel Between Ford and Citroen
On Sunday in Cardiff, the very first WRC run exclusively on Pirelli tyres will come to a close. The event will have added interest as it is where this year's WRC manufacturers' title will be fought out between Ford and Citroen. Yet another highlight of the race will be Valentino Rossi, in a Pirelli Scorpion-equipped Focus WRC run by M-Sport.
Milan, 30 November 2008 - This year's World Rally Championship (the first run under the single tyre rule that sees Pirelli as exclusive supplier) will conclude through the forests of Wales this weekend. Pirelli will equip all the teams in the WRC as well as the Production Car World Rally Championship (PWRC) with its well-known soft-compound Scorpion tyres.
The Rally Great Britain this year takes on a particular importance as it will be the scene of the final showdown between Citroen and Ford in the constructors' championship, which has been won since 2006 by Malcolm Wilson's Ford team. With Sebastien Loeb already having secured the drivers' championship, Citroen will stop at nothing to make it a full house and bring back to France a title they have now missed out on for three years.
The French manufacturer will also field a C4 WRC that will be entrusted to Sebastien Ogier, making his debut in a WRC car after winning the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) at the wheel of a Citroen C2 S1600. After two years of absence from the World Rally Championship, Valentino Rossi makes a comeback, co-driven as always by Carlo Cassina. The multiple bike champion will drive a Pirelli Scorpion-equipped Ford Focus WRC08 run by M-Sport.
With an 11-point gap to Citroen, the Ford drivers - Hirvonen and Latvala - have a tough task ahead of them to claim the manufacturers title for their team. Furthermore, Great Britain is the only rally missing from Loeb and Elena's impressive roll call of victories. Given that they do not have to worry about the drivers' title - which was already sealed in Japan - the crew can fully concentrate on trying to win the rally, giving Citroen the points needed to claim the first-ever manufacturers' championship of the Pirelli era.