Jubilant Jon Clinches Maiden DMACK Victory

Jubilant Jon Clinches Maiden DMACK Victory

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy rookie Jon Armstrong from Northern Ireland triumphed in fine style after an enthralling see-saw weekend battle with fellow Brit Osian Pryce.

Welshman Pryce, winner of the opening 2016 round in Portugal, had led the fast and furious rally in the Polish Lake District going into a dramatic final day.
Heavy overnight rain brought hugely challenging closing stage conditions for the nine Trophy competitors.

These ultimately led to Pryce surrendering a 43.8-second overnight lead. And that allowed 21-year-old Armstrong, last year's Vatanen Touch champion, to pounce and finish on top of the podium along with co-pilot Noel O'Sullivan.

Seven out of the nine crews lost time after running into problems along the same section today after the deluge had opened up holes in the gravel roads and exposed rocks. However, there was some consolation for deposed leader and eventual race runner-up Pryce. The 23-year-old pocketed two 2017 WRC 2 prize drives as the top points-scorer in the first two rallies of the year.

Experienced Bernardo Sousa, who crashed out on the final stage in Portugal while leading his home event six weeks ago, took third place overall today. Teenager Gus Greensmith of England finished fourth, showing great maturity to shrug off technical issues earlier in the weekend. Max Vatanen, second overall at the season-opener in May, arrived in Poland with a new co-driver, Maxime Vilmot. However, the pair were a little off the pace on super-speedy soft and sandy tracks which were lined by massive amounts of enthusiastic spectators in and around Mikolajki.

Local boy Jakub Brzezinski, spurred on by the home supporters, performed well in only his second WRC outing, while Oscar Solberg of Norway gave a steady display. Nicolas Ciamin, at 18 the youngest driver in this year's Trophy field, suffered a slight roll in his car on Saturday during stage 13. However, the damaged was limited and Ciamin was able to get back on track.
Karan Patel, representing Kenya, also continued to gain vital experience in what was only his second WRC race.

Poland proved to be a particularly difficult event. On ultra-fast gravel roads, drivers needed to have plenty of confidence in their precise pace-notes. Their identical M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2 cars were equipped with DMACK's latest G42 gravel rally tyres, which stood up magnificently to the tough conditions.

The crews will now set their sights on Finland and round three of the Trophy campaign later this month. That rally will be paired with Poland as the second set of WRC 2 prize drives goes up for grabs. For the asphalt aces, Rally Deutschland in August is then grouped with the season-ending Rally de Espana.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “It’s been another ding-dong battle on a really high-speed event. These conditions are difficult for young drivers but Jon performed exceptionally well all weekend. Congratulations go to Osian for securing the first prize drives next season.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said: “For the first time all Trophy competitors have completed the event so well done to everyone. Jon has come to this rally for the first time and shown a fantastic pace, which has really impressed me. Osian’s consistency sees him secure the first prize, taking a little pressure off his shoulders.”

Driver Quotes

Jon Armstrong from Northern Ireland said: “The first day started off well and we had a pretty good pace with our notes working really well. On Saturday we lost time, but today we’ve been quick in the wet and unfortunately Osian had some problems, which meant we took the win back. I think overall we were one of the quickest this weekend so it’s well deserved and I’m very happy. We’ve worked hard for it.”

Osian Pryce from Wales said: “I’m over the moon to have won the prize drives, a bit disappointed to have finished second in the end, but points mean prizes. It’s great that we have something secured for next year and we’re really looking forward to stepping into an R5 car in WRC 2.”

Bernardo Sousa from Portugal said: “We had a lack of speed on the first morning and after that it was a little bit hard to recover. Step by step, stage by stage we managed to improve a little bit. The podium is good but it’s not enough and after Portugal we need to do things much faster and try to recover as many points as possible.”

Gus Greensmith from England said: “I’m really disappointed to have missed out on a podium here in Poland due to things out of my control. We did the best we could and I’m really happy with how we controlled the situation. I proved that when things are working right, I have the pace to compete for the top spot. With Finland coming up, I’ll be training hard to prove myself there.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “I’m fairly happy with the rally and have been enjoying the fast flowing stages. I’ve been trying to look after the car as much as possible as it’s been quite rough out there. We continue to do our best and now I turn my attention to my home rally in Finland.”

Jakub Brzezinski from Poland said: “I have a lot of room for improvement despite a few decent stage times. This rally has shown me a few areas I need to work on, and I will be trying to improve those before the next event. I’m eager to test myself on the iconic stages in Finland.”

Oscar Solberg from Norway said: “I’ve made good progress here in Poland but I must get better on the pace notes. It’s almost like a dream driving on these stages and I’m going to keep working hard to better my performances. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some testing before the next event and be better equipped to get close to the top guys.”

Nicolas Ciamin from France said: “Well first of all I’ve discovered what it’s like to roll. It’s been much faster here than Portugal and the stages have been so different in so many ways. I’ve tried to push the pace and have seen some gradual improvements. It has been a great learning experience.”

Karan Patel from Kenya said: “I’m happy with my performance on this rally. I know I really need to work on the pace notes and get better at assessing the distances. I’m just happy to finish really. I’ll do some recce practice back in Kenya and hopefully continue to gradually improve. I really admire the speed with which some of the other drivers in this Trophy can go.”

Final Classification
1. Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Rookie 3h 10m 16.9s
2. Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss 3h 11m 10.5s
3. Bernardo Sousa / Hugo Magalhaes 3h 11m 38.5s
4. Gus Greensmith / Alex Gelsomino 3h 12m 15.2s
5. Max Vatanen / Thierry Salva 3h 13m 05.1s
6. Jakub Brzeziński / Bartłomiej Boba Rookie 3h 20m 32.2s
7. Oscar Solberg / Patrik Barth Rookie 3h 23m 21.1s
8. Nicolas Ciamin / Thibault de la Haye Rookie 3h 27m 50.0s
9. Karan Patel / Phil Hall 3h 31m 14.6s

Trophy Classification After Round 2
1. Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss 53
2. Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Rookie 47
3. Max Vatanen / Thierry Salva 29
4. Bernardo Sousa / Hugo Magalhaes 24
5. Nicolas Ciamin / Thibault de la Haye Rookie 20
6. Gus Greensmith / Alex Gelsomino 19
7. Jakub Brzeziński / Bartłomiej Boba Rookie 16
8. Oscar Solberg / Patrik Barth Rookie 12
9. Dillon Van Way / Andrew Edwards Rookie 10
10. Karan Patel / Phil Hall Rookie 2


 Jubilant Jon Clinches Maiden DMACK Victory
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