First DMACK Fiesta Prize Drives Decided In Poland

First DMACK Fiesta Prize Drives Decided In Poland

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy crews will feel the need for speed at next week's PZM Rally Poland. Round two of this year's competition, at one of the world's oldest rallies, will see pretenders to the Trophy crown tackle exceptionally fast gravel roads. By the end of the weekend one lucky driver will be awarded with the first prize drive of the series, two rounds in next year’s WRC 2 series.

Osian Pryce, from Wales, will aim to build on his dramatic victory in the 2016 season opener at the Vodafone Rally De Portugal last month, where he stole the win on the very last stage. But there is bound to be a big battle for the top step of the podium as Pryce and eight other talented drivers tackle high-speed, soft and sandy Polish roads next week.

Experienced Bernardo Sousa will have his sights set on bouncing back from major disappointment at his home rally in Portugal last time out. Having comfortably led the event, Sousa crashed out on the last of the 19 stages while holding an advantage of more than a minute - leaving his car off the road and on its roof.

Max Vatanen, runner-up at the curtain-raiser in Portugal, gained valuable experience last year in Poland on his way to third spot overall in the final Trophy standings.

Young Brit Gus Greensmith will be hoping to translate his improved speed into victory at the Mikolajki-based event. Trophy rookie and local hero Jakub Brzezinski is aiming to make the most of his home advantage and the fast, flowing roads may well better suit Norwegian Oscar Solberg.

Eighteen-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Ciamin gained a well-deserved third place in Portugal and will be targeting another solid display in what will be only his second WRC outing. Meanwhile Northern Ireland's Jon Armstrong, winner of last year's Vatanen Touch Award, was hampered by car trouble early on round one and has his sights trained on improving on his fourth place there.

Another rookie, Kenya's Karan Patel, completes the line-up of nine crews who will assemble at the start line - several hours north of Warsaw, in the Masurian lake district.

All are competing in identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars - powered by Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost turbo-charged engine - during a five-rally Trophy campaign. All participants have an eye on the main prize, the biggest in global rallying, which is a lucrative seven rounds of WRC 2 competition in 2017 using a Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5.

The town of Mikolajki hosts the start and finish ceremonies and a super special stage next to the service park that is run three times. After Thursday evening's opener, Friday features two loops of four tests north-east of the host town before a repeat of the super special stage - a total of 121.92km.

Saturday heads further north towards the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad for three stages that are driven twice. Four final tests will be held on Sunday, including the Sady Power Stage. Tall grass lines many sections, limiting visibility on the approach to corners, and grass also masks rocks so Trophy drivers will find that cutting corners is a risky pastime.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “The opening round in Portugal saw some pretty intense competition and I’m expecting that again next week. However, the top drivers will have one eye on winning the rally and the other on the first pair of prize drives. It will be an interesting event.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said: “The Polish roads are extremely fast and require full commitment from the crews. It will certainly be a challenge and we’ll see the most experienced and committed drivers come to the fore. We’re expecting some close-fought competition as this event decides the winner of the first two prize rounds.”

Driver Quotes

Jon Armstrong from Northern Ireland said: “I have increased my fitness in preparation for the rally and, like normal, have been watching videos of the stages to gain a feel for the conditions. We were the only crew setting top times in Portugal who hadn’t been to the event before so I’m confident we can do the same in Poland. A podium would be a great result for us and that’s possible if we have a clean, fast rally with no issues.”

Jakub Brzezinski from Poland said: “This is my home rally so I’m a little more confident and will really be trying my best. Portugal had highs and lows for us but we will put that behind us now and concentrate on an improved performance in Poland with the help and support of the home fans.”

Nicolas Ciamin from France said: “Finishing third in Portugal was an unexpected result for me, we weren’t on the pace of the leaders but we didn’t make any mistakes. The stages in Poland are very fast and we will aim to improve the pace even more. But again the aim is to finish the rally, make the experience and have some fun.”

Gus Greensmith from England said: “Last year Poland was incredibly hot, so I've stepped up my training to cope with the conditions. I was really happy with my pace in Portugal and happy with how Alex and myself both performed. I’m desperate for my first win but we need to play a smart game in Poland so we can go to Finland and fight for the prize drives.”

Karan Patel from Kenya said: “My preparation for Poland has consisted of lots of recce training and pace note practice using my new pace note system. We were gradually becoming faster in Portugal but, having crashed out of the rally, we are looking for a finish in Poland to boost our morale. I think the main challenge will be the immense high speeds of the stages in Poland.”

Osian Pryce from Wales said: “Our pace notes worked well in Poland last year so we’ve been watching over those stages to prepare. I was relatively happy with our performance in Portugal but there is still more to come and hopefully I can have more of a push in Poland. The biggest challenge will be getting used to the high speeds, the commitment level is high but we need to try and repeat the win again.”

Oscar Solberg from Norway said: “The fast stages and big jumps in Poland will be a challenge but we will aim to improve on our pace from Portugal. I haven’t done many gravel rallies so I’m still learning and I want to try and get some faster times on the stages but also to have the experience from this rally.”

Bernardo Sousa from Portugal said: “I’ve competed twice already in Poland with a four-wheel-drive car so I have some experience of the conditions. We’ve been watching onboards and working in the gym to be ready. The only solution for us is to win the rally and as many stages as possible – mathematically it’s possible for us to leave Poland in the lead so that’s the real goal.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “I’ve competed on this rally twice before so I have a good idea what to expect from the conditions. The roads are very fast, you need to be really committed but I’m looking forward to the rally as I think these conditions will really suit me. I’m aiming for a win, that’s really what we need to try and achieve.”

PZM Rally Poland
Based: Mikolajki, Poland
Ceremonial start: 16.00 Thursday 30 June
Finish: 14.00 Sunday 3 July
Stages: 21 stages, 306.10 km
Longest stage: SS12/14 Stańczyki 25.27km
Surface: Soft gravel
Tyres: DMACK DMG2 175/70R15 compound G42, maximum 20 tyres

Trophy Classification After Round 1
1. Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss 28
2. Max Vatanen / Thierry Salva 19
3. Nicolas Ciamin / Thibault de la Haye Rookie 15
4. Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Rookie 13
5. Dillon Van Way / Andrew Edwards Rookie 10
6. Bernardo Sousa / Hugo Magalhaes 8
7. Jakub Brzeziński / Bartłomiej Boba Rookie 8
8. Oscar Solberg / Patrik Barth Rookie 6
9. Gus Greensmith / Alex Gelsomino 5
10. Karan Patel / Phil Hall Rookie 0


First DMACK Fiesta Prize Drives Decided In Poland

DMACK Fiesta Trophy News 2016-06

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