Aasen Wins First DMACK Round To Take Trophy Lead

Aasen Wins First DMACK Round To Take Trophy Lead

Marius Aasen clinched his maiden Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy victory with a thrilling win at Lotos Rally Poland today – the result giving him a two-point lead at the top of the championship standings.

Norwegian Aasen, aged 23, and co-driver Veronica Engan kept their cool in the searing hot temperatures to beat off the brave challenge of Britain's Tom Cave and top the podium. Cave did all he could to wrestle victory away from his rival and triumphed on three of the 19 highly competitive stages in Poland.

But with Aasen having claimed five individual stage successes during three days of turbo-charged racing on the gravel course he was a worthy overall winner.

Cave and co-driver Craig Parry had to settle for second place while Max Vatanen, from Finland, and French co-pilot Jacques-Julien Renucci, who won the opening round of this season's Trophy in Portgual, came home in third place.

A huge crowd at this weekend's Mikolajki-based event was treated to some ultra competitive racing on soft and sandy tracks. These took away much of the mechanical stress on the drivers' identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars. New for this year, these are driven by Ford's 1.0 litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine and powered by sustainable GEM race fuel.

Drivers were able to thrill the spectators who lined the Polish course by reaching high speeds and performing some impressive jumps on what was an enjoyable weekend for all concerned. There were six different stage winners over the three days and the lead changed hands regularly.

It proved a round to remember for Trophy rookies Mats van den Brand, from the Netherlands, and teenager Gus Greensmith, from Britain. Both won their first ever stages although there was disappointment on the final day for van den Brand. He crashed out on the penultimate stage while holding fourth place.

Will Hudson, from the USA, was another to retire early, as was Italian Edoardo Bresolin, who fell foul of an engine problem. Belgium’s Ghislain de Mevius finished fifth with Kevin van Deijne coming home sixth after an improved run. Lebanese driver Nicolas Amiouni was seventh despite dropping four minutes stuck mid-stage yesterday and Spain’s Nil Solans set four fastest times but an off-road excursion on Friday dropped him to eighth.

Vatanen continued his impressive start to the 2015 campaign with three stage victories while Cave claimed a hat-trick of wins. Such a spread of different winners at Lotos Rally Poland illustrates the fiercely competitive nature of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, which is in its second season and features 11 drivers from 10 different countries.

Poland proved an extra special round for the Krakow-based M-Sport team, which builds and prepares the identical and all-new Fiesta R2 cars.

Up for grabs for the overall Trophy winner this year is a lucrative full seven-round series of 2016 WRC 2 competition using a Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5. The competition, backed by Morris Lubricants, aims to help provide a cost-effective platform for upcoming drivers to experience the FIA World Rally Championship.

The crews will now focus on round three, one of the most revered rallies in the world, when Neste Oil Rally Finland roars into action on 30 July.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “We’ve seen some fantastic battles this weekend and some of the younger drivers are starting to show their pace. That’s what the Trophy is all about and it’s great for DMACK to be part of the development of so many exciting young drivers.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said: “Congratulations to Marius on a fantastic win here in Poland. It’s been a real battle from start to finish and I think he and Veronica should be extremely proud of this performance and their first DDFT victory. To see so many of the youngsters really battling for the lead was fantastic and all of them enjoyed the Fiesta on these incredibly fast stages. With six crews claiming a stage win this weekend, it just proves how close the competition is and I think we’re in for some really exciting battles in the events to come.”

Driver quotes
Nicolas Amiouni: “The stages here in Poland are super fun and I love driving in these fast stages. After the incident on stage four I knew we would struggle to get back into contention but I pushed all the same. Maybe I overdid it in places and I need to work on restraint when speed is concerned – but we still continued to learn a lot from this rally.”

Marius Aasen: “It feels very good now to know we have won the event. I was very nervous taking the last few corners. We set the pace and kept to the plan of being safe and it’s now a relief to finish in pole position. We tried to save the tyres and it paid off. I wanted the podium and hoped for first and it feels good to win. We must stay focused for the remainder of the championship and keep an eye on the Trophy.”

Tom Cave: “It’s been an excellent event and I’m very pleased with the result but obviously a little disappointed. I think yesterday was one of my best drives to date, we were taking time out of Marius all day. The pace was good and we will need that again in Finland. The stages here are really rewarding and so fun to drive, the fast flowing nature really suits my driving style and the atmosphere with so many fans is incredible.”

Ghislain de Mévius: “I couldn’t find my rhythm here in Poland and that’s a shame. I preferred the tight technical driving we saw in Portugal as the fast flat-out stages don’t suit my driving and I’ve been dropping time. But we keep trying, keep pushing for the rest of the Trophy and see what we can do. I plan to maybe compete in Rally Estonia but we will see.”

Mats van den Brand: “I really enjoyed this rally, we’ve made quite some progress with both the pacenotes and my driving – to take my first stage win was very important to me. Compared to Portugal, this is what I expect of a gravel rally, the roads are so much fun to drive here. It was just a shame that we made a mistake so close to the finish.”

Edoardo Bresolin: “I struggled on this rally, I find it hard to get to grips with the car. To retire so early was a big disappointment as we weren’t able to see the stages and get the kilometres, but sometimes this happens. We will regroup before Finland and hopefully have some more luck there.”

Kevin van Deijne: “Compared to last year I have improved a lot and I’m glad to have not had any incidents like in 2014. I feel the roads have been better this year and the stages are very nice to drive. I aimed to gain some experience first and foremost and I have achieved that.”

Gus Greensmith: “When everything was hooking together I wasn’t too far off the pace and to get a stage win was very good. I’ve learnt more this weekend that I have in the last year and a half. We have a two-year plan with the Fiesta Trophy; this year is experience and next year we aim to set some impressive times, so we are well underway to achieve that plan I think.”

Will Hudson: “Crashing again was not the plan. There wasn’t enough grip in the front tyres but also I was not being cautious enough. I need to work on my mental focus and also refining my pacenotes. There is a lot to work on before heading to Finland. I have a number of driver training sessions lined up before then so hopefully we can work on the issues we have seen here in Poland.”

Nil Solans: “This year has been better than last for us. I feel the stages were more difficult in 2014 but the experience I got there really benefited me here. We’ve had a lot of speed and learnt a lot this weekend. We had some issues though the event but I’m happy with the points we gained. I look forward to Finland.”

Max Vatanen: “Sincerely I’m a little disappointed with the result this weekend as I was aiming for the win. We started in the lead but suffered a puncture and it was always going to be an uphill battle from there. The only option was to shoot for third and I am pleased we achieved that. We will re-group and think about the changes we need to make before the next round, I will also do some test stages to get ready for my home rally.”

Final rally classification

1. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 2hr 51min 6.5sec
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 2hr 51min 17.3sec
3. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 2hr 53min 11.2sec
4. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 2hr 55min 55.4sec
5. Ghislain de Mévius / Johan Jalet 2hr 56min 3.8sec
6. Kevin van Deijne / Harmen Scholtalbers 2hr 57min 3.9sec
7. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 3hr 4min 18.7sec
8. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibańez 3hr 19min 35.3sec

Trophy classification after round 2

1. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 51
2. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 49
3. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 34
4. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 25
5. Nil Solans / Miguel Ibanez 23
6. Kevin van Deijne / Harmen Scholtalbers 16
7. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 10
8. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 8
9. Mats van den Brand / Martijn Wydaeghe 7
10. Edoardo Bresolin / Rudy Pollet 4
11. Will Hudson / Alex Gelsomino 0


Aasen Wins First DMACK Round To Take Trophy Lead
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