Aassen Extends Lead On Dramatic First Day

Aasen Extends Lead On Dramatic First Day

After an action packed day, which saw the lead change five times, Norway’s Marius Aasen strengthened his grip on the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy title and the race to win the biggest prize in rallying. He and co-driver Veronica Engan finished the gravel section of the finale at Rally de España in top spot to collect a total of 27 points and extend their gap at the top of the standings to 21 points.

Last year’s runner-up Welshman Tom Cave set five fastest times over the day’s eight gravel tests to the west of host town Salou. But he ended up with points for second place after losing over 40 seconds on stage three when caught in the dust of fellow title contender Max Vatanen. Cave and co-driver Craig Parry move to equal second with 93 points.

Vatanen dropped time on three stages today as he struggled with a lack of turbo boost pressure caused by a damaged pipe. His demoralising run did earn him 11 points after he went quickest on the final test today to tie with Cave in the championship race.

The fourth driver with a chance at the title retired from the lead today after an inspiring drive on his least favoured surface. Belgian Ghislain de Mevius was ahead by 16.8 seconds but was sidelined with on stage six with broken front and rear suspension.

Although he isn’t eligible to score points, Brendan Reeves was the fastest Ford Fiesta R2 driver through stage one and stage nine and sits just one second behind Cave in the overnight standings.

Tonight, the team of M-Sport mechanics have an extended service to switch the cars' specifications from gravel to asphalt – changing suspension components and adding bigger brakes. Tomorrow, drivers must quickly adapt their driving style to an overnight change in road surface.

Another full set of points is available at the end of the event on Sunday and drivers are permitted to drop their lowest score from the six rounds.

Top-Three Championship Driver Quotes
Marius Aasen from Norway said: “It has been a really good day for us. I’ve just tried to drive very sensibly and avoid all the big rocks and that’s seemed to work. The long stage was really rough and I was probably a little too cautious the first time through.”

Tom Cave from UK said: “I was fastest on five stages today so I’ve proved the pace is there and we did the best we could really under the circumstances. There are still 14 stages left and we need to keep pushing to collect those extra points. I’m looking forward to the Tarmac tomorrow.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “It’s a pity to have had the problem today and it took a little while for us to fix it. The last few stages were good, however, and we showed a really strong pace. Tomorrow we just have to go for it and try to show that we can be fast on Tarmac also.”

Classification after round five, end of day two (Friday) Rally de España
1. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 1hr 38min 17.1sec
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 1hr 38min 37.7sec
3. Brendan Reeves / Rhianon Gelsomino 1hr 38min 38.7sec
4. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 1hr 41min 25.2sec
5. Kevin van Deijne / Hein Verschuuren 1hr 48min 50.6sec
6. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 1hr 53min 55.7sec
7. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 2hr 05min 47.8sec
8. Edoardo Bresolin / Rudy Pollet 2hr 07min 50.5sec
9. Mats van den Brand / Martijn Wydaeghe 2hr 26min 40.8sec
10. Guillaume de Mevius / Geoffrey Brion 2hr 33min 45.9sec

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy standings after round five
1. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 114
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 93
2. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 93
4. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 69
5. Kevin van Deijne / Hein Verschuuren 46
6. Mats van den Brand / Martijn Wydaeghe 43
7. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 40
8. Will Hudson / Alex Gelsomino 0
9. Nil Solans / Miguel Ibanez 0
10. Edoardo Bresolin / Rudy Pollet 0
11. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 0


Aasen extends lead on dramatic first day
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