Kubica returns to lead Pirelli efforts in Portugal


Robert Kubica leads the Pirelli-based field as he returns to the FIA World Rally Championship at Rally de Portugal this weekend after missing last month’s Rally Argentina.

Kubica had previously been running his own car but returns to the M-Sport team in an all-new Fiesta as he looks to secure more stage wins. The 30-year-old will be up against Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli who will both be using the latest homologation of the Ford Fiesta WRC.

Karl Kruuda leads Pirelli’s WRC2 entries. The new Skoda Fabia R5 also makes its debut on Pirelli tyres with Armin Kremer driving while Henk Lategan returns to the WRC, having last competed on Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Leading Pirelli drivers in Portugal:

14 Robert Kubica/Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
21 Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
33 Max Rendina/Mario Pizzuti (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10)

36 Karl Kruuda/Martin Jarveoja (Citroen DS3 R5)
37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
44 Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer (Skoda Fabia R5)
47 Valeriy Gorban/Volodymyr Korsia (MINI JCW RRC)
49 Jonathan Hirschi/Vincent Landais (Peugeot 208 T16)
50 Anders Grondal/Roger Eilertsen (Citroen DS3 R5)
73 Julien Maurin/Nicolas Klinger (Ford Fiesta RRC)
75 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari/Marshall Clarke (Ford Fiesta RRC)
76 Keith Cronin/Stuart Loudon (Citroen DS3 R5)
89 Marco Tempestini/Dorin Pulpea (Subaru Impreza WRX)
92 Hendrik Lategan/Barry White (Skoda Fabia S2000)

“There are many exciting things about Rally de Portugal this year. We have a new route in the north, which contains some very beautiful but challenging stages and two new cars fitted with our tyres: the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, in which Robert Kubica returns, as well as the Skoda Fabia R5, driven by former European champion Armin Kremer.” said Matteo Braga, Pirelli senior tyre engineer.

“We know that the stages around Porto can be characterised by abrasive and rocky roads, but also by more compacted and sandy surfaces. So we decided to nominate the KH tyre, which guarantees stability and performance in the hottest and most severe conditions, plus the KS as an option for less demanding surfaces or rain.

“If we get wet weather in Portugal, this will test the ability of our tyres to evacuate water and loose stones, while the big jumps on the Fafe stage also place heavy demands on the tyre structure. There is a lot going on in terms of how the tyres work on these stages, so we’re looking forward to another strong performance from our renowned K products.”