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Pirelli welcomes tender 'victory'

Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery welcomed the Italian company's "victory" after it was announced that it will be sole tyre supplier to the World Rally Championship from 2008.

The FIA's World Motor Sport Council said on Tuesday that Pirelli had won the tender to become WRC's sole supplier for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

BFGoodrich, who currently supplies the majority of this year's teams, was the Italian's only rival in the tender.

"We put a lot of effort into making ours the most attractive bid, but it wouldn't have been the end of the world if the decision hadn't gone our way," Hembery told

"Having said that, you don't do the kind of work we did for this and then say: 'Oh well, we didn't really want it...' if we didn't get it.

"It's fantastic. It's a victory in terms of the deal, but that's really the only time you get to talk about victory.

"With a control tyre you drink champagne when you win the deal and probably not again - we'll win every rally next year because ours is the only tyre. It's quite fitting; this year, Pirelli celebrates 100 years of competition."

The Italian marque has a long history in rallying, but all the works teams in this year's championship are using BFGoodrich.

"Obviously, we were delighted," Hembery added. "We've put a great deal of work into the bid and we've come out with the right result. Pirelli has a very long history in the world championship.

"It's been more than 30 years since our first WRC victory with Jean Todt and Achim Warmbold, but that's what we're about: we're about passion for the WRC."

BFGoodrich is owned by Michelin, whose withdrawal from Formula One at the end of last year left Bridgestone the sport's only supplier.

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