AKRON (Feb. 28) — Pirelli & C. S.p.A. will replace Michelin North America Inc.´s BFGoodrich brand as the exclusive supplier to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) from 2008 through 2010.
The pact is the second recent coup for Pirelli in motorsports. Last month the tire maker edged out Hoosier Tire Racing Corp. for sponsorship of the Grand American Road Racing Association´s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for the 2008-2010 seasons.
"Racing is in Pirelli´s DNA and clearly an agreement of such importance is recognition of a commitment to motorsports that has continued uninterrupted for a hundred years," said Paul Hembery, director of Pirelli Competizioni.
In a statement, BFGoodrich said it had demonstrated its quality with titles in the 2006 season.
"The financial and technical efforts we deployed for the past two seasons have therefore not been acknowledged, which is all the more regrettable since we know that today´s and tomorrow´s WRC car manufacturers unanimously supported our proposal," said F. Henry-Biabaud, BFGoodrich rally competition director. "The BFGoodrich brand was therefore eliminated on the basis of criteria unknown to us but obviously unrelated to sports."
Pirelli said the FIA world council accepted the Milan-based tire maker´s proposal, "appreciating not only the quality of the company´s product and its capacity for technical innovation but also its commitment to developing young drivers and the promotion of national championships."