Pirelli's new soft compound Scorpion tyre will make its first appearance in the World Rally Championship on the Neste Oil Rally Finland this weekend, the first event following the six-week break.
Formerly called the '1000 Lakes', Rally Finland is one of the classic events in the series and is characterised by a compact gravel surface, which allows the competitors to attain high average speeds. Another feature is the famous rollercoaster crests, which launch the cars high up into the air.
The high speeds and the heavy impacts with the ground on landing after each crest constitute the biggest difficulties that the new soft-compound Scorpions will have to face. Although by way of compensation, tyre wear is less of an issue and there is only a small risk of punctures caused by hitting rocks or holes in the road.
"The soft-compound Scorpion tyres have been tested at length on quite a wide variety of surfaces, both by ourselves at Pirelli and by the teams individually. On every occasion, they have demonstrated some useful versatility and plenty of performance," said Pirelli's rally manager, Mario Isola.
"Compared to the rallies we have had in Sardinia, Greece and Turkey, the technical challenge facing the construction of the Scorpion tyres will be to withstand the considerable forces imposed by the high average speeds and the impacts with the ground after every crest.
"By the same token – given the results of our test and development programme, as well as the comparatively gentle nature of the Finnish road surfaces – we should not have the same problems with wear and punctures that we experienced in Greece and Turkey."
The new soft-compound Pirelli Scorpion tyres will also be used in Japan and Wales later on this season, in addition to Finland.