DMACK Fiestas Fly To Finland As Trophy Battle Hots Up

DMACK Fiestas Fly To Finland As Trophy Battle Hots Up

It's set to be a jump jamboree as pretenders to the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy throne will aim to take a giant leap towards the title at Neste Oil Rally Finland next week.

After two fiercely contested opening rounds of the 2015 Trophy series, crews are gearing up for a high speed third outing next weekend (30 July to 2 August) at the spiritual home of rallying.

Stomach-churning gravel roads lie in store for drivers and their co-pilots in Finland, where a huge number of spectators will flock to the event based in the university town of Jyväskylä.

Experience could prove crucial on the wide and smooth gravel roads which feature blind crests and rollercoaster jumps. In addition, there are forest roads which feature a mix of hard base and more technical soft sections, making accurate pace notes, defining the lines over huge jumps, essential.

Marius Aasen, Tom Cave and Finland's own Max Vatanen, at his home rally, are among those aiming high. Aasen, from Norway, clinched his maiden Trophy victory in Poland last time out, just edging out Brit Cave, who was runner-up.

Aasen currently leads the way in the title race but has only a two-point advantage over second placed Vatanen. The 24-year-old flying Finn won the opening round in Portugal and is sure to be a fans' favourite on home soil next week.

Belgian Ghislain de Mevius, Nicolas Amiouni from Lebanon and Kevin van Deijne will benefit from their experience in last year’s event while Italian Edoardo Bresolin has already shown strong form in Finland – he finished 13th overall in 2013 at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RRC.

For Rookies Mats van den Brand, Gus Greensmith and Will Hudson, the challenge of Rally Finland will certainly mean their focus will be on building up to a strong pace.

Crews will also need to make some careful choices with the allocation of DMACK tyres. They can use a maximum of 16 from an allotted batch of 14 soft G62 and six medium G42 compound tyres. The identical M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2 cars, powered by sustainable GEM race fuel, have always shone in Finland – last year’s winner Sander Pärn finished 16th overall.

This year's overall Trophy winner will net a lucrative full season of 2016 WRC 2 competition using a Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5. In addition, four private crews will contest the Vatanen Touch competiton alongside the main Trophy, where a winner will be selected to progress to an end-of-season final to win a prize drive.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “We are starting to see some great battles among the field with a few of the Rookie drivers also beginning to impress. However, next week’s event in Finland could be the toughest of the season and it’s an extreme challenge that could change the standings. Our tyres have consistently performed well on these roads and we’re all set for another great battle.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said: “Rally Finland is the highlight of the season for so many drivers and I’m sure the DDFT competitors are really relishing the opportunity to compete on these legendary stages. The Fiesta R2 has historically performed well here and I’m expecting to see some encouraging times from quite a few crews next week. The stages themselves are very fast and technical so it won’t be easy, but the competitors – and the fans – can expect a thrilling experience with some extremely close-fought competition.”

Drivers Quotes

Marius Aasen from Norway said: “For me Finland is a favorite, and I am really looking forward to the start. I feel very much at home in Finland as the surfaces are so similar to Norway. Poland was a real boost for us and we will try and continue that success in Finland. We have a test lined up before traveling to Jyväskylä so we will be well prepared. The recce will be important so I will really focus there and try to perfect my pacenotes. We will stay focused, just thinking about our own pace and have a safe drive.”

Nicolas Amiouni from Lebanon said: “Unfortunately we haven’t had the chance to drive since Poland but we have been reviewing the onboard footage from 2014 and trying to improve the notes. After Poland the speeds in Finland won’t be too much of an issue but we just need to be accurate with the crests and jumps. I’m going to go flat out from the beginning and try closing the gap on the top guys, it’s my only strategy really.”

Mats van den Brand from Netherlands said: “It is very important we complete the rally after crashing out in Poland. Our speed was so much better in Poland compared to Portugal so we will be hoping to carry that pace forward on to Finland. We’ve been working on our pacenotes with the help of Freddy Loix which hopefully we will benefit from. It’s my first time racing in an event like this and like I have already discovered in Poland it’s important the notes are accurate over the crests and jumps.”

Edoardo Bresolin from Italy said: “I’ve been watching onboard footage to get a feeling for the new parts of the race. I started my WRC career here in Finland so I have a particular bond with the rally. In 2013 we finished 13th overall so I would like to replicate that good feeling and take my best result here. We still have a lot to learn about the technical aspect of the R2 and hopefully we will be much further on by the end of the rally.”

Tom Cave from UK said: “Having experience of competing in Finland during the 2014 Trophy will be of great benefit this year. The rally poses a unique challenge and the recce will be crucial, good notes will put you in a fight for the win and bad ones will mean a very long weekend. It’s the best rally of the year and I aim to win, taking as many stage points as possible. Like everyone else I’ll be going flat out. It’s the only way you find a rhythm in Finland.”

Kevin van Deijne from Netherlands said: “The high speeds and jumps will be a big challenge for everyone, but you really need to commit to them to find a good rhythm. Every stage is a new adventure, trying to jump further than last time. I aim to improve my result from last year and try finishing in the top five of the trophy. Beside the final result, I aim to be competitive for the whole rally but stay out of big trouble.”

Gus Greensmith from UK said: “In preparation for Finland I have been watching all the recce onboard footage to give myself an idea of what the rally is going to be like. The general feeling I'm getting from other competitors who have competed in the event before, is that pacenotes need to be even more specific than usual. The jumps and high speeds mean lines will be critical in order to carry that little bit more speed. My aim is to get another top five finish, with no mechanical issues or mistakes on my part.”

Will Hudson from USA said: “My main aim is to finish this rally and take it one note at a time. I spent a day with Brendan Reeves in an R2 at the Team O'Neil Rally School which helped me a lot. I also completed the New England Forest Rally, which has helped me get some confidence back. I will try my best to be as accurate as possible over the jumps and with my lines and take things a step at a time.”

Ghislain de Mevius from Belgium said: “I want to fight for the podium like we did in Portugal and I’ll be going as fast as I can. The experience from last year will help us with confidence going into this rally and watching the video footage will help us understand where we lost time. Of course the high speeds will be a challenge but more than that there are a lot of blind crests with fast corners on them. Our notes must be perfect.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “I have intensified my physical training to be in shape for Finland as well as watching last year’s onboards to remind myself of the conditions. It’s important to have good lines over the high speed jumps and it will be challenging with two low-speed recce passes to have the confidence in your pacenotes when you will be doing double the speed during the race. My priority is that a Finn will win this rally so my strategy is to start flat out and increase the pace towards the end.”

Neste Oil Rally Finland Info

Based: Jyväskylä, Finland
Start: 18.42 Thursday 30 July
Finish: 16.00 Sunday 2 August
Stages: 20 stages, 319.38km
Longest stage: SS4/8 Ouninpohja 34.39km
Surface: Soft and hard base gravel
Tyres: DMACK DMG2 compound G62 and G42, maximum 16 tyres permitted

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy standings 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


DMACK Fiestas Fly To Finland As Trophy Battle Hots Up
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