The purpose of this study is to investigate the theoretical possibility of using a pilot diesel injection for the auto-ignition of a main ethanol injection in a compression ignition engine. To this effect a predictive simulation model has been built based on experimental results for a diesel cycle (pilot and main injection) at 1500 and 2500 min–1, respectively. For every engine speed, in addition to the diesel reference cycle, two more simulations were done: one with the same amount of fuel injected into the cylinder and one with the same amount of energy, which required an increase in the quantity of ethanol proportional to the ratio of its lower heating value and that of diesel. The simulations showed that in all cases the pilot diesel led to the auto-ignition of ethanol. The analysis... of the in-cylinder traces at 1500 min–1 showed that combustion efficiency is improved, the peak temperature value decrease with approximately 240 K and, as a result, the NO emissions are 3.5-4 times lower. The CO and CO2 values depend on the amount of fuel injected into the cylinder. At 2500 min–1 there are similar trends but with the following observations: the ignition delay increases, while the pressure and temperature are lower.