Peugeot's all-new 208 T16 will make its international debut on the 37th Rally il Ciocco this week with multiple Italian Rally Champion, Paolo Andreucci behind the wheel of the Pirelli-shod machine.
It is then due to make its maiden appearance in the FIA European Rally Championship later this month, when Craig Breen and Kevin Abbring will drive the car on the Acropolis Rally of Greece.
“We tried the [Pirelli] tyres with the 208 T16 on Tuesday for the first time before the rally, as everything is a bit last-minute this year because we only just got the car now. So it's clear that we head into this rally with a few uncertainties, as is always the case with a new car, but I have to say that the tyres are not one of them,” said Andreucci, who has won the Ciocco event six times.
“We had a very good feeling with them straight away, which gives me a lot of confidence. The way that the tyres work with this car is obviously a little different to how it was with the 207 S2000: the turbo gives different power characteristics but the adaptability of Pirelli tyres on all different types of car has always impressed me and I'm sure that will be the case again.
“Now we just need to work on the set-up of the car to make sure that everything is working together properly. The weather forecast for now is good, so we're expecting consistent conditions, which should help us.”
Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery added: “We feel privileged that the new Peugeot 208 T16 – which is set to be a very important car in rallying – will make its international debut on our tyres in the Italian Rally Championship, with Paolo Andreucci at the wheel. The Italian Rally Championship, as one of our home events, has always been extremely important to Pirelli and we look forward to defending our winning record in both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships.”