Fiesta Final Four Battle For Top DMACK Rally Prize

Fiesta Final Four Battle For Top DMACK Rally Prize

The race to win the biggest prize in rallying reaches an exciting climax next weekend when the 2015 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy will be decided at a fabulous finale at Rally de España. After four fascinating rounds of competition across Europe in recent months, the race for the title looks sure to go right down to the wire as double points are up for grabs over the weekend.

Mathematically, seven drivers have a chance of being crowned Trophy champion and securing the ultimate top prize – a lucrative full seven-round series of 2016 WRC 2 competition in the Drive DMACK team. But it is likely to be a blistering battle between the four drivers who have each tasted success at the four previous rounds.

Marius Aasen, victorious at Rally Poland in July, leads the way in the overall Trophy classification with 87 points. Five points behind the Norwegian, in second spot, is flying Finn Max Vatanen, who won the opening round of the series in Portugal. Last year's Trophy runner-up Brit Tom Cave is lying third on 70 points and was triumphant in Finland. He is nine points clear of Ghislain de Mévius, who catapulted himself into contention with a win on his favoured asphalt surface at Rallye Deutschland in August.

Spain stages the final showdown from its base in the Costa Daurada holiday resort of Salou from 22-25 October and is the only mixed surface rally of the year. Competitors will race on gravel during Friday then switch to asphalt for Saturday and Sunday.

There are a tantalising total of 73 points up for grabs. Twenty-five will be awarded to the driver who leads the rally at the end of racing on Friday and there are 25 more on offer for the person in pole position at the close of play on Sunday. And in addition, there is a point on offer for each of the 23 separate stage wins.

The rally opens on Thursday night with a street stage in the Montjuïc area of Barcelona where crews will get the first taste of action in their identical GEM fuel-powered Ford Fiesta R2 cars, equipped with Ford's 1.0 litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine.

On Friday evening, the dedicated team of M-Sport mechanics will have an extended service to switch the cars' specifications from gravel to asphalt – changing suspension components and adding bigger brakes. On Saturday, drivers must quickly adapt their driving style to an overnight change in road surface. Fast, smooth sweeping asphalt is comparable to a race circuit in its characteristics.

DMACK will also supply three different tyres. During Friday, drivers will use the DMG2 tyre in G42 compound while the switch to asphalt will see the DMT-RC, in both T51 dry and W3 wet compounds, being bolted to the cars. However, crews will still need to employ a smart strategy with only 22 tyres allowed across all three days.

The race for the Rookie title is also hotting up with Dutch driver Mats van den Brand battling with Brit Gus Greensmith to collect the honour.

Edoardo Bresolin, who did not compete last time out in Germany, is back for the final event of the season while Will Hudson is replaced by former WRC Academy front-runner Brendan Reeves and co-driving sister Rhianon Gelsomino.

Reeves, from Australia, is one of three drivers who will make one-off appearances in the final rally. The two others are de Mévius's brother Guillaume and 20-year-old Jon Armstrong from Northern Ireland, both making their WRC debuts.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “Last year’s championship was decided on the very last loop of stages and this season is looking even more exciting with four drivers all battling for the prize. With double points and two surfaces, I’m sure we will witness a fierce fight over the weekend.”

Driver Quotes
Marius Aasen from Norway said: “To win the championship would be a dream come true and the prize drive would be a fantastic opportunity. With that in mind I’ll be thinking about my own driving and keeping away from problems in Spain. We’ve been working hard since Germany, testing and participating in some rallies in my own Fiesta R2. Driving a consistent rally and remembering there are double points on offer will be challenging.”

Mats van den Brand from Netherlands said: “I’m looking forward to this event, having dual surfaces will be a challenge for all drivers but fun also. My main aim is to finish the rally and after that I’d like to be in the top three and even win the rookie championship. There have been lots of ups and downs and we haven’t really had the season we hoped for. I plan to be steady on gravel so I’m not behind when it comes to my favored surface, Tarmac. Tyre management will be crucial also.”

Edoardo Bresolin from Italy said: “Our main target for Rally Spain is to finish without any mistakes, especially the Tarmac legs where we have no experience on that surface. The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy has been more difficult than expected and it demonstrates an exceptional class of driving and organisation. The hardest part of Rally Spain for us will be the Tarmac stages, but hopefully we will get a good feeling and confidence early, and limit the gap from the lead.”

Tom Cave from UK said: “Winning the Trophy would be a great reward for all the hard work and effort Craig and I have put in over the last few years. We will be well prepared for the final event after taking part in a national rally in Wales the day before flying to Spain. The alternating surfaces will be a unique challenge as you need to change your rhythm and strategy overnight, it’s a challenge I enjoy. We finished well here last year with fast times, so that gives me added confidence.”

Kevin van Deijne from Netherlands said: “I think the biggest challenge for me, will be to make the right pacenotes for both surfaces, knowing how the car will react and planning for that. I’ve been watching the official onboard video as well as taking part in another Tarmac rally to get ready for Spain. For me, it was and still is a great experience in which I learned a lot. It’s nice to have a glimpse of a view how everything works in a professional team like M-Sport and what they expect of you as a driver.”

Gus Greensmith from UK said: “The transfer from gravel to asphalt will make this rally harder, driving styles will have to change immediately as well as aspects of the pacenote system. Having not finished on two of the rallies this year, it’s become apparent how important gaining experience is at my age and if you don’t finish, you don’t get that experience. The season started really positively, but we had two terrible rounds and my confidence took a knock. But I’m now feeling positive and fit, ready for the finale.”

Ghislain de Mevius from Belgium said: “I’ve been kart driving and studying official onboard footage to get ready for the rally. I hope to make good progress on the gravel and then go to the max on asphalt. The prize means a lot to me, it would be a huge step on the road to my dream of driving professionally for a great team. To get there I need to avoid punctures on Friday and find a good line on the asphalt.”

Guillaume de Mevius from Belgium said: “My objective for the rally is to get as much experience as possible. It is my first world rally event so I’m really excited and I want to take time to see all the facets. I’ve been preparing for Spain like any other rally and it’s been very useful having Ghislain who knows the competition well. I think the hardest part will be the length of the event, the mixture of surfaces and getting the pacenotes right.”

Brendan Reeves from Australia said: “I can’t wait to get started and experience the WRC again. It’s been three years since my last event in Europe so I’m really buzzing to be part of the Fiesta Trophy. Although the mixed surfaces will make it difficult, it will also level the field as most drivers prefer one surface over the other. I’ve never raced against these drivers before, but I know there is strong talent in there so hopefully I will be contesting for some stage wins.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “To win the Trophy would be the reward for the joint efforts of myself, my co-pilot, family, sponsors and everyone who has put faith in me. It would also be a huge step in the right direction for my career and becoming a professional driver. It will be important to focus on the race and not the reward. With that in mind, I’ve been testing on both surfaces and will focus, with my co-driver, on doing the best we can and approach this event in the same way as any other.”

Jon Armstrong from Northern Ireland said: “I’m really excited for the event, it will be a great experience to compete on the same stages as the top drivers. The mixed surface will make things difficult and it’s hard to fully prepare for that aspect of the race, so we will just have to take it as it comes. To get to the finish is the main goal and then after that it’s to set some good times and display good pace. I just want to learn as much as I can really.”

Rally de España Info
Based: Salou, Spain
Start: 13.00 Thursday 22 October
Finish: 14.00 Sunday 25 October
Stages: 23 stages, 331.25km
Longest stage: SS5/9 Terra Alta 35.68km
Surface: Mixed surfaces, gravel and asphalt
Tyres: DMACK gravel DMG2 compound G42, DMACK asphalt DMT-RC compounds T51 and W3. Maximum 22 tyres allowed.

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy standings after round 4

1. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 87
2. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 82
3. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 70
4. Ghislain de Mévius / Johan Jalet 61
5. Mats van den Brand / Martijn Wydaeghe 38
6. Kevin van Deijne / Harmen Scholtalbers 34
7. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 25
8. Will Hudson / Alex Gelsomino 12
9. Edoardo Bresolin / Rudy Pollet 0
10. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 0
11. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibańez 0


Fiesta Final Four Battle For Top DMACK Rally Prize
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