Pirelli tyres are being put through their paces this week at the Classic Marathon car rally, which got off to a roaring start in Belgium yesterday (June 16th). Fifty cars from all over the world set off on the 2,300 km race, with the tyre maker sponsoring the famous event 25 years after it first did so in 1988.
The race, which started from Grote Markt in Ypres, Belgium on Sunday morning, has attracted entrants from as far away as Argentina, as well as Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands.
"History is repeating itself," said Tomas de Vargas Machuca, the joint managing director of HERO, the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation.
"Twenty five years ago the Classic Marathon was the first event of its kind ever to be held, it was sponsored by Pirelli and we are delighted that they have become a sponsor once again."
Paddy Hopkirk, the winner of the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally and the 1990 Classic Marathon will be at the finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy. A number of other former winners are competing in this year's contest, including Henry Pearman (1989), Jayne Wignall (2006) Mark and Sue Godfrey (2010 and 2011) and Howard and Matt Warren (2012).
The Pirelli Classic Marathon is a qualifying round of the 2013 HERO Cup in association with EFG International. The rally is run every other year by the Classic Rallying Association.
Paul Hembery, global head of motorsport at Pirelli, said: "The Classic Marathon is one of the most famous classic car events held anywhere in the world and it gives us great pleasure to be supporting the event once again."
Mr de Vargas Machuca is also delighted to see the return of Pirelli to classic rallying.
"It brings the necessary prestige to this important event and offers competitors and spectators the opportunity to associate Pirelli to classic car tyres. Its heritage in rallying is amongst the most important in the world,” he said.
The Pirelli Classic Marathon route takes in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Switzerland before finishing in Cortina d'Ampezzo, one of Italy's chicest ski resorts.
Posted by Danielle Barge