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Pirelli Tyres 'Indestructible' at Swedish Rally

The Finn becomes the youngest-ever winner of a WRC rally, praising the strength and grip of his studded Pirelli tyres. This was in spite of conditions that were far from ideal for winter tyres, with some stages that contained hardly any snow and ice.

Jari-Matti Latvala praised the strength and grip of his studded Pirelli tyres

Karlstad, 10 February 2008 - Jari-Matti Latvala has already accomplished his stated mission for 2008: to win at least one World Championship rally. The Finn achieved this result in considerable style, leading from virtually the beginning of the event. Driving his Pirelli Sottozero-equipped factory Ford Focus WRC, Latvala became the youngest winner of a WRC event, aged 22. He said that he was "pleasantly surprised by the performance and grip from the studded Pirelli tyres, which turned out to be really effective even  in the marginal conditions that we found on some of the stages. This is down to the impressive work from all the Pirelli technicians." Latvala led home his team mate Mikko Hirvonen and the Italian Gigi Galli, also driving Fords.

This year's Swedish Rally was run in tricky conditions, with mud and gravel frequently coming through a thin layer of snow and ice. This forced the organisers to cancel two of the special stages due to a deteriorating road surface. Despite the loose gravel, the Pirelli Sottozero tyres performed beyond expectations, demonstrating admirable strength in conditions for which they had certainly not been designed.

Gigi Galli, co-driven by Giovanni Bernacchini, had already finished on the podium with Pirelli tyres two years ago in Argentina. In Sweden this year, Galli-ernacchini repeated this achievement after an excellent rally - once again with Pirelli. "Getting onto the podium in only my second rally with Ford is very satisfying and extremely encouraging for the events to come," said Galli. The Pirelli Sottozero tyres on our Stobart-Ford were extremely effective and also very quick on the gravel, mud and stones that emerged on the stage surface, which often had no snow or ice at all."

Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director, said: "We had to face some very gravely conditions this year in Sweden, because of the lack of snow and ice: this meant that our tyres had to face a much wider performance window than we expected. For that very reason, it's important to underline the fact that our Pirelli Sottozero tyres were a pleasant surprise for everybody in Sweden because of their strength and adaptability in the variable road conditions. Pirelli has been able to supply all the teams with a product capable of delivering the best possible performance even in these unusual circumstances compared to the normal winter weather that could be expected in Sweden."

February 2008