Clever Cave Victorious In German Thriller

Clever Cave Victorious In German Thriller

The British pairing of Tom Cave and Craig Parry eclipsed their previous results to become the second crew to take victory in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy after a clever and careful performance on round four at ADAC Rallye Deutschland this weekend. The victory came after a final-day twist which saw rally leader Yeray Lemes sidelined with mechanical problems allowing Cave and Parry to sneak through and take a well-deserved 3m 17s victory.

Trophy leader Sander Pärn from Estonia finished second to hold a 29-point lead over Cave. The result sets up an exciting climax to the inaugural series with a thrilling duel between Pärn and Cave for the biggest prize in rallying planned for the final round in Spain.

As expected, the switch to asphalt brought some of the more experienced Tarmac drivers to the fore. Frenchman Quentin Gilbert was the early pace-setter, squeezing every ounce of power from his M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2 on the opening test on Friday morning. However, four stages later, the muddy conditions on the second pass saw him slip off the road and become stranded in a field. He returned to set fastest times on all of today's final four stages.

DMACK had supplied crews with two compounds of its DMT-RC asphalt tyre and Spaniard Lemes used them to good effect to takeover the lead from stage two. He dominated throughout Friday and Saturday's tough tests to score eight stage wins but, in a cruel twist of fortune, retired on a liaison section after stage 15 this morning when alternator problems robbed him of victory.

That left Cave in pole position to cruise through the final stages today, overcoming the treacherous conditions to take victory after driving a clever and controlled event on his Rallye Deutschland debut. Pärn and co-driver James Morgan consolidated their lead at the top of the Trophy standings with a fine second place, creating a final-round showdown between Cave and Pärn in October. The winner will be rewarded with an unbeatable seven-round programme in next year's FIA WRC 2 Championship in a Ford Fiesta R5.

Despite rolling on the unforgiving Panzerplatte stage and dropping around three minutes, Belgium's Ghislain de Mevius used his asphalt knowledge to deliver another solid drive and his second podium of the season. Pole Szymon Kornicki finished fourth, his best result of the year, while Finland's Max Vatanen rounded off the top-five. Lebanese driver Nicolas Amiouni finished sixth after an improved performance while Nil Solans fought back to seventh after retiring on Saturday when he damaged the suspension on his GEM Fuel-powered Ford Fiesta R2 in a collision with a huge stone.

Canada's Leo Urlichich had another problem-filled rally. He completed Saturday's stages but retired on the first stage today with a damaged drive-shaft.

In the Drive DMACK Fiesta Shoot-Out for private drivers, Mats van den Brand from Netherlands stormed to victory on his FIA World Rally Championship debut.

This edition of Rallye Deutschland was one of the toughest in recent years. The range of different surfaces, from twisty vineyard tracks to abrasive and slippery tank-training ranges, proved a real challenge. The event was based in Trier, Germany's oldest city, and saw crews race through the slippery Saarland roads over the three-day event which offered 315km over 17 competitive stages. Extensive corner-cutting pulled out mud and gravel making roads treacherously slippery and adding to the arduous asphalt challenge.

The final round of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy takes place at Rally de Espana, a mixed surface event, in October.

Final Classification

1. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 3h 41m 31.9s
2. Sander Pärn / James Morgan 3h 44m 49.0s
3. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 3h 45m 19.7s
4. Szymon Kornicki / Przemyslaw Mazur 3h 45m 57.8s
5. Max Vatanen / Mikko Lukka 3h 48m 00.8s
6. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 3h 48m 21.2s
7. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibanez 4h 07m 41.6s
8. Quentin Gilbert / Renaud Jamoul 4h 11m 49.1s

Trophy Classification After Round 4

1. Sander Pärn / James Morgan 109
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 80
3. Yeray Lemes / Rogelio Penate 56
4. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 40
5. Max Vatanen / Mikko Lukka  39
6. Quentin Gilbert / Renaud Jamoul   38
7. Szymon Kornicki / Przemyslaw Mazur   34
8. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibanez    20
9. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 16
10. Leo Urlichich / Michael Gilbey 4
11. José Suárez / Borja Rozada -6
12. Marius Aasen / Marlene Engan -10

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "The move to asphalt has seen some new stars emerge which is fantastic for the series. This has been a challenging Rallye Deutschland which has caught out many of the top drivers. I'm pleased we've been able to provide a range of asphalt tyres which have contributed to some fierce competition among the Trophy crews. The finale in Spain will be worth waiting for, I'm confident we are in for an exciting finish.

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport Managing Director, said: "Congratulations to Tom on a superbly controlled event. Rallye Deutschland is the most difficult asphalt event on the calendar and he rose to the challenge brilliantly. After such a strong performance from Yeray it was a shame to see him retire on the final day but his stage wins should hopefully give him the encouragement to continue where he left off at the next event. I must also commend Sander who implemented a highly intelligent strategy on what is his least preferred surface. Second place and a series of stage wins is a great result for his championship and I'm really looking forward to seeing him and Tom battle it out as the season draws to a close.

Finishing Driver Quotes

Tom Cave: "It feels really good to win here on my debut in Germany and also after having scored a couple of second places. It's a shame for Yeray but you can never give up and we kept pushing to make sure we were always in with a chance. I can't wait for Spain. I was happy with my pace here on Tarmac and I will definitely take the fight to Sander.

Sander Pärn: "I'm very happy with second and it sets us up well for the championship. In Spain I know I will be much faster on the Tarmac than here, last year it was a good rally for me and I will be confident there. This result was more than we could have hoped for really. The stages today were so difficult and it was a challenge trying to manage the different surface changes and conditions.

Ghislain de Mevius: "Scoring another podium here is a great finish for me. I knew my pace would be better when we switched to asphalt and I showed that I could set better times and get closer to the top guys. The experience from this rally is so valuable especially when the conditions are difficult and varied. I'm now leading the rookie standings so that's been very positive.

Szymon Kornicki: "This has been a really difficult rally but actually I'm very happy with how things went. We lost some time yesterday but it is my first rally here and I was very focused to try and finish all the stages. My speed wasn't so bad and I know exactly where we are loosing time and exactly what I need to do to improve and move forward.

Max Vatanen: "It was a tough event but we were here to learn. I don't have much Tarmac experience and this is probably one of the hardest events to learn on. But I enjoyed the challenge. There are lots of surface and grip changes which you don't get on gravel rallies. I know I can go faster but I just need some more time and experience to improve.

Nicolas Amiouni: "We knew this was going to be a hard event and it was great to get through the stages, even if we had some small problems along the way. This is a hard rally and really different to the asphalt events back home in Lebanon. It was useful for us to get this experience and I know we can improve again when we go to Spain.

Nil Solans: "It was my first time here and it was a really difficult rally. The grip was changing all the time and there were lots of different surfaces. It wasn't easy for someone like me who is new to the rally to try and learn. But I'm really happy to finish and get the experience even though we had some problems. I'm now really looking forward to competing on my home rally in Spain.

Quentin Gilbert: "It wasn't the perfect result for us but we showed that we have the pace here. When things went well we were fastest and we went quickest on all four stages today. I do enjoy the roads here, the conditions are difficult but I like a challenge like this. But again we had problems. This year has just not been a lucky one for us.


Cave podium-1
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