DMACK Fiesta Trophy Attracts Six Rookie Stars

DMACK Fiesta Trophy Attracts Six Rookie Stars

More than half the competitors in the forthcoming Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy are treading exciting new ground. Six of the 10 drivers who will get into gear at the curtain-raising event in Portugal next week will enter the Rookie competition – open to those with no more than two prior World Rally Championship starts.

Kenya's Karan Patel is the first African competitor in the history of the series, while Frenchman Nicolas Ciamin, at the age of just 18, is the youngest of the bunch.

The others newbies are Jakub Brzezinski, from Poland, Norwegian Oscar Solberg, Jon Armstrong from Northern Ireland and the USA’s Dillon Van Way.

All are hoping to enjoy their first full WRC campaign, and will aim to use the acclaimed and cost-effective Trophy competition as a stepping stone to greater things.

Continuing the successful format, the 10 crews - from 12 different countries - will compete in identical Ford Fiesta R2T rally cars built by M-Sport and powered by Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost turbo-charged engine. The prize on offer this year is a whopping seven rounds of the FIA WRC2 in 2017.

Ahead of the opening Trophy round, Patel, from Nairobi, admitted to being "a bit nervous but obviously excited as well". His co-driver is Phil Hall, of England. "I have never done any WRC events. I have only ever rallied in Kenya. It is going to be jumping in at the deep end and seeing how well we fare," said Patel.

"We do have high hopes and we do also have an honest approach in that we don't expect that we are going win. Everyone wants to win but we are ready to take this as a learning experience. We are always going to be positive and will take it as it goes."

Asked about the challenges he was preparing to face, Patel spoke of rally endurance, his first experience both in a left-hand and two-wheel-drive car and a different form of pacenotes.

Overall, he added: "I am very proud to be representing my country and I hope to show the world that I am capable of driving in a competition in the WRC. And more importantly to show my country that I am worthy of representing them."

Ciamin, meanwhile, said he was also looking to use the Trophy season as part of his learning curve. "I am looking forward to competing in the WRC. It is the best way to progress because you do big rallies. The stages are long. The timing is intense," he said.

"I just want to go and to take as much experience as possible and go to the end of the rallies. No result objective for the moment - let's just see."

It will be a challenging start for Ciamin - who has mainly Tarmac experience - as the first three events are on gravel. "It will be tough. I think we need to manage the car and also the tyres on gravel events," said the teenager.

He will have valuable backing from co-driver and compatriot Thibault de la Haye. "He is very experienced so that helps a lot. I am looking forward to it," said Ciamin.

Brzezinski explained that his aim - and that of co-driver Bartłomiej Boba - was to have a good experience. "We will try to be perfect and to win. We do all we can do," he said. "The target is the maximum that we can do. We are very happy."

The pair's preparations for the coming season have included painstakingly watching on-board footage from previous events. Brzezinski added: "We are very lucky we are here. This step is very exciting. We believe it is possible to go for WRC2."


DMACK Fiesta Trophy Attracts Six Rookie Stars
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