German Asphalt Switch Opens Up DMACK Fiesta Race

German Asphalt Switch Opens Up DMACK Fiesta Race

Crews vying for the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy title will aim to be asphalt aces when they rock up to ADAC Rallye Deutschland next weekend (21-23 August).

Three enthralling rounds of the 2015 series have already been and gone, with gravel events in Portugal, Poland and Finland testing drivers and their co-pilots to the very limit. However, a switch of surfaces awaits the 10 teams in Germany as they compete on the only all-asphalt round of the competition.

And the chase for the championship is hotting up. Leading the way are Norwegians Marius Aasen and Veronica Engan, victorious at round two in Poland, who are eight points clear of second placed UK crew Tom Cave and Craig Parry.

Cave recorded his first 2015 Trophy win in Finland earlier this month. The 23-year-old Brit also triumphed last year at Rallye Deutschland in the inaugural season of the Trophy and next week’s event could be a chance for him to move into the series lead.

Just one point behind Cave in this year's standings is flying Finn Max Vatanen, who was also fast in Germany last year. All three will aim to take a giant stride towards the 2015 title at an event which boasts a picture postcard start and finish in front of the Porta Nigra Roman gate in Trier - Germany's oldest city.

There are three diverse stage types that crews must tackle in their sustainable GEM-fuel powered Ford Fiesta R2 cars. Bumpy, narrow Mosel vineyard roads and abrasive Baumholder military tracks, home to the punishing 45.61km Panzerplatte test, offer a distinct variation. Crews must also negotiate stages across smooth country tests in Saarland.

Drivers will have to avoid huge car-breaking kerb stones, known as hinkelsteins, in the Baumholder ranges where roads are slippery in the dry and treacherous in the wet. They can choose from two compounds of DMACK’s E-marked asphalt tyres, T71 for the dry and W3 if it turns wet. Unpredictable weather makes tyre choice tricky, and the 21-stage event is truly technical and difficult.

The switch to Tarmac also opens up opportunities for a number of drivers to shine. Rookie star Mats van den Brand was blisteringly quick on his WRC debut in Germany last year, finishing second fastest Fiesta as he competed outside of the series as a privateer.

Ghislain de Mevius, a 26-year-old Belgian who prefers Tarmac to gravel, is sure to be another one to watch next weekend – he scored a podium last year despite rolling on the Baumholder ranges.

Kevin van Deijne, from the Netherlands, is currently fourth overall and the leading rookie runner. However, the 25-year-old is just a single point clear of Britain's Gus Greensmith, the youngest competitor in the series at just 18.

American Will Hudson and Italian Edoardo Bresolin will be looking to put poor results behind them and move their seasons forward. Newcomer Slovenian Tim Novak joins the series halfway through the season with Germany being his debut WRC rally.

The drivers' identical M-Sport-prepared Ford EcoBoost-driven cars will be converted to asphalt specification for the first time this year in Germany. That means bigger front brakes, asphalt dampers and springs and a lower ride-height to improve stability and precision.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “We’re halfway through the season and the chase for the championship is starting to become serious. Moving to Tarmac will certainly add a new dimension to the battle and I’m certain we will see a few more drivers come to the fore on this surface.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said: “As we turn our attention to the first asphalt event of the year, the championship could not be closer. We've had three different winners from three different rallies and, when you take drop scores into account, Marius [Aasen] and Tom [Cave] are tied at the top of the standings with Max [Vatanen] just behind in third.

“I'm also expecting some of the Tarmac specialists to really come into their own next week and with the challenging German roads never failing to deliver a surprise or two, the scene is set for another thrilling battle.”

Driver Quotes
Marius Aasen from Norway said: “In preparation for Rally Germany, I will compete in Rally van Staden with to get used to the Tarmac and how the DMACK tyres perform on it. I’ve been looking forward to this asphalt round since the beginning of the Trophy and because I drove Rally Germany in 2013, I’m eager to get back. I’ll just think about my own driving and performance and be really consistent in the recce; hopefully we will achieve another great podium.”

Mats van den Brand from Netherlands said: “Tarmac is my preferred surface and gravel has been completely new to me so it will be great to get back to something more familiar. We’ve focused a bit too much on good results this season so in Germany we decided to start at the beginning and have fun, drive our own rally and make the kilometers. I’m looking forward to the challenge of the Panzerplatte, looking after the tyres and brakes will be crucial.”

Edoardo Bresolin from Italy said: “We have been watching the official onboard recce videos to help us get an idea of the stages in Germany. We have modest experience driving on Tarmac, in fact we have only done one race on this surface. Compared to Finland it will be hard for us to maintain the same pace, but we will try. It is essential to have accurate pacenotes in Germany if we are to negotiate the tight narrow corners and anticipate the gravel on the roads.”

Tom Cave from UK said: “After the great result in Finland I’m going to carry the momentum to Germany and put our winning experience from 2014 into practice. I’m confident we are in for a shout of another win. The weather will be unpredictable which makes tyre choice a gamble and starting so far back in the running order will mean a lot of mud and gravel on the roads. I’ve been going over the onboard footage from last year and seeing where we need to improve.”

Kevin van Deijne from Netherlands said: “I learnt to drive on asphalt so I’m looking forward to the surface change. The German stages are pretty similar to the Netherlands stages but a little bit harder so I hope for a good result here. I want to improve my result from last year and hold on to my fourth position in the championship. I think the vineyards are the most challenging areas to drive because a lot of the corners will cut and bring gravel on to the roads.”

Gus Greensmith from UK said: “I have watched onboard videos of Germany, mainly to locate where gravel tends to be pulled on to the road. I welcome the change of surface with open arms because I feel much more at home on Tarmac. My aim for the weekend is to finish as high as I can with as few mistakes as possible. If I manage to complete stage 3 in Germany I’ll have bettered my performance in Finland and I’m confident I can achieve that.”

Will Hudson from USA said: “I’ve been taking some time out and away from rallying and it’s really helped clear my head of the accident in Finland. I’ll have a few laps around Nürburgring as well as some karting to get the feeling of Tarmac. This will be my first Tarmac event so it will be interesting to see how the Fiesta goes with an asphalt setup. I’ll be driving with more patience in Germany because obviously my aim is to simply complete the rally; this season has been a bit of a disaster so far.”

Ghislain de Mevius from Belgium said: “I know the asphalt surface very well so I am very confident to drive on it again. I want to win in Germany and I will do the maximum to reach that goal. I will hopefully be on the pace in Germany because Tarmac roads suit my driving style so much more. I am confident of a good result. Making the correct tyre choice with the unpredictable weather will be the biggest challenge I feel.”

Tim Novak from Slovenia said: “I’ve been doing some testing just to get back in the rhythm and get some feeling back as I haven’t raced since May. Tarmac is my favorite surface and I feel fairly confident going into this, my first Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy rally. I want to finish the rally and gain experience and as this is my first time in this car with these tyres. It is also my first WRC event so it is going to be a real challenge to keep calm and work progressively.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “We did Rallye Wartburg to get back on Tarmac and try get some kilometers in. I’ve also been doing some karting which I hope will help. It will be completely different to drive on Tarmac after three rounds on gravel but I’m looking forward to it. You still need to drive in a committed way to maintain a rhythm and I’m getting more confident on this surface. All I aim to achieve this rally is to drive my best and enjoy the race. I’ll focus on one stage at a time and not think about the final result. I didn’t do that in Finland and I think it showed.”

ADAC Rallye Deutschland Info
Based: Trier, Germany
Start: 20.00 Thursday 20 August, Porta Nigra, Trier
Finish: 15.00 Sunday 23 August, Porta Nigra, Trier
Stages: 21 stages, 374.43km
Longest stage: SS13/16 Panzerplatte Long 45.61km
Surface: Smooth and broken asphalt
Tyres: DMACK DMT-RC compound T71 and W3, maximum 18 tyres


Trophy classification after round 3

1. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 76
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 68
3. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 67
4. Kevin van Deijne / Hein Verschuuren 26
5. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 25
6. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 23
7. Mats van den Brand / Martijn Wydaeghe 15
8. Edoardo Bresolin / Rudy Pollet 10
9. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 8
10. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibańez 0
11. Will Hudson / Alex Gelsomino 0


German Asphalt Switch Opens Up DMACK Fiesta Race
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