Pärn And Morgan Land Huge Drive DMACK Rally Prize

Pärn And Morgan Land Huge Drive DMACK Rally Prize

Estonia’s Sander Pärn (22) and Welsh co-driver James Morgan (23) have been crowned 2014 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy winners on the series finale at Rally de España today. Holding a strong lead after winning the opening three rounds of the series, the pair put in a measured drive to secure the title with a 19-point advantage. Their reward is the biggest prize in world rallying – a seven-round programme in the 2015 FIA WRC 2 championship driving a Ford Fiesta R5.

Pärn had taken a 29-point advantage into the final round which championship rivals Tom Cave and Craig Parry, winners last time out in Germany, were unable to overhaul. The Welsh pair led for much of the mixed-surface event after Pärn lost a minute on Friday when he was caught behind a slower competitor. Cave was forced to push hard for the additional points awarded for stage victories but he slid off the road this morning, lost three minutes and dropped back to second.

That left local crew Nil Solans and Miquel Ibanez to take a popular and well-deserved victory on their home event. Solans (22) used his home advantage to good effect, setting a raft of competitive times including his first-ever fastest stage time on Friday. When the rally switched to asphalt he upped the pace to take his maiden win by two minutes from Cave.

After his stage win on the opening superspecial in Barcelona on Thursday night, Frenchman Quentin Gilbert was the early pacesetter on Friday’s gravel stages, winning all the morning’s tests and opening up an early 28-second lead. However, his perfect start soon came to a halt when he slid off the road and damaged the suspension on his Ford Fiesta R2 – ending his bid for a maiden victory. Gilbert and co-driver Renaud Jamoul returned to dominate the time-sheets with 11 stage wins – the extra points helping them secure third overall in the championship.

Pole Szymon Kornicki finished third today and collected his first podium in what was easily his best performance of the season. He edged out Max Vatanen by just 1.5 seconds but Vatanen’s finish earned him enough points to secure the hotly-fought Rookie Award and a place in the Shoot Out final to win a one-off drive with a Fiesta R5.

Ghislain de Mevius finished sixth after an event of mixed fortunes while Lebanon’s Nicolas Amiouni returned after crashing out on Friday’s final stage to finish eighth. Leo Urlichich also had his share of problems after retiring when brake issues saw him collide with a bridge but he bounced back to complete the event in ninth.

The 50th anniversary edition of Rally de España was the only dual-surface rally of the season. Friday’s six gravel stages saw crews use DMACK’s DMG2 tyre to tackle the rocky roads in the hills above Tarragona. Then M-Sport’s mechanics transformed the Fiestas into asphalt specification for days two and three, with the GEM Fuel-powered cars now equipped with DMT-RC asphalt tyres.

Saturday’s action comprised a loop of stages closer to the host town of Salou including the whopping 50km Escaladei stage celebrating the rally’s history. Today’s action concluded with four stages completing 372.96km contested across 17 competitive stages. Dutch driver Timo van der Marel also secured a place in the end of year Shoot Out after a strong drive saw him top the non-Trophy runners.

It’s been a hugely successful inaugural season for the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. The partnership between tyre manufacturer DMACK and M-Sport has resulted in a fiercely-fought series. The concept was to provide a cost-effective entry level into the FIA World Rally Championship, however, the package of identical M-Sport-prepared Fiesta R2 cars, sustainable GEM racing fuel and control DMACK tyres has proved ultra-competitive. At Rally Finland, Pärn powered his way to a remarkable 16th overall – scoring the highest ever WRC finish for a Fiesta R2.

The Trophy will continue in 2015 with an all-new, one-litre turbo engine and information on the registration process will be released soon.

The Main Points

• Sander Pärn and James Morgan won the inaugural Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy with a 19-point lead from Tom Cave and Craig Parry.
• Nil Solans and Miquel Ibanez take rally victory – their best result of the season.
• Max Vatanen wins the Rookie Award and earns a place in the end of year Shoot Out.
• Timo van der Marel also wins a place in the Shoot Out.
• Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy will continue in 2015 with a one-litre, turbocharged Fiesta.
• Sander Pärn finished 16th overall in Rally Finland – the highest ever position for a Fiesta R2.
• Cars are powered by sustainable race fuel from GEM Fuels and high performance oils from Morris Lubricants.

Final Classification

1. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibanez 4h 26m 52.8s
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 4h 28m 55.0s
3. Szymon Kornicki / Przemyslaw Mazur 4h 31m 50.4s
4. Max Vatanen / Mikko Lukka 4h 31m 51.9s
5. Sander Pärn / James Morgan 4h 34m 38.2s
6. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 4h 34m 50.5s
7. Quentin Gilbert / Renaud Jamoul 4h 38m 45.5s
8. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 4h 40m 09.0s
9. Leo Urlichich / Michael Gilbey 4h 54m 37.7s

Trophy Classification After Final Round
1. Sander Pärn / James Morgan 120
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 101
3. Quentin Gilbert / Renaud Jamoul 55
4. Max Vatanen / Mikko Lukka 51
5. Szymon Kornicki / Przemyslaw Mazur 49
6. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 48
7. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibanez 46
8. Yeray Lemes / Rogelio Penate 31
9. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 20
10. Leo Urlichich / Michael Gilbey 6
11. José Suárez / Borja Rozada -31
12. Marius Aasen / Marlene Engan -35

*Results are provisional until official confirmation.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “It’s been a fantastic end to a successful first season for the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Sander and James really are deserved winners and I’ve been impressed by both their dedication and pace throughout the season. Tom Cave really took the title fight to them with the result undecided until the very last loop of stages. This rally has also seen a super drive from Nil Solans to win on his home event.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport Managing Director, said: “Congratulations to Sander and James – they are truly deserving of what is one of motorsport’s most impressive prizes and I look forward to seeing what they can do behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 next year. Displaying speed and consistency, they claimed the title over the course of the season with a very mature strategy. A very worthy and very deserving champion for the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy’s first season. Congratulations must also go to Tom. He put up a good fight and I hope to see him back next year when I have no doubt that he’ll be even stronger.

“The partnership between M-Sport and DMACK has been hugely successful this year and I think we have delivered a very exciting and appealing series. We’ve had some close battles, discovered some exciting new talent and seen the less experienced drivers improve their speed throughout the year.”

Driver Quotes

Nil Solans: “This is wonderful to win my home rally and to finish off our season on a high. My aim was to come here and push as hard as I could but I knew there would be a big battle at the front as Tom was chasing the extra stage points. We’ve driven hard and didn’t make any mistakes. It was the perfect way to end the year after we’ve tried to get faster rally by rally.”

Tom Cave: “We’ve had our ups and downs during the season but it’s been a real learning year and fantastic experience. We’ve gone to a lot of new rallies for the first time and it’s always difficult with a new set of pacenotes but we’ve proved we have the speed to be able to challenge at the top. I’m aiming to be back again next year.”

Szymon Kornicki: “It has been a hard day but one of the most enjoyable of my life. I’ve shown some great speed on this rally and I am thrilled with the result. We have had a good battle with Max the whole way through. The first time I came here with my daughter to spectate I never thought that one day I would take the podium on this beautiful rally. The DMACK Trophy has been a great adventure. The organisation has been fantastic, the atmosphere positive and supportive. It was the best decision in my rally career and I will do all I can to be involved next year.”

Max Vatanen: “We made a silly mistake this morning and it cost us a big chunk of time. It's a shame about the stage being cancelled otherwise we could have caught Szymon. My driving has definitely improved throughout the competition and I am glad we came away with the Rookie Award. Competitions like this are where champions are made. I have learnt a great deal, improved my driving and gained some great experience. Thanks to M-Sport and DMACK for the opportunity.”

Sander Pärn: “This is an incredible feeling to win the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy and to receive the prize drive. We came to this rally knowing we must finish so really it’s been quite difficult to judge the pace. I must give a big thanks to all my supporters from Estonia and my family. James and myself have had a really great season, pushing when we could and backing off when we needed to. Now this prize is a great way to move forward from here.”

Ghislain de Mevius: “We had a mixed rally but my pace was good when we didn’t have any problems. I wanted to push a little more on the asphalt stages and my times were ok then. This was a big learning year for me and it was exciting to come to the rallies for the first time. It was a nice battle with the rest of the Rookie drivers and very close finish at the end.”

Quentin Gilbert: “It has been a good day overall for me, I set all the fastest stage times which I am happy about. Finishing third overall in the championship was not the objective and I am disappointed not to finish higher but we’ve had quite a few problems over the year. The Trophy is a great school to learn a lot of lessons across five very good rallies.”

Nicolas Amiouni: “We made a really good start and as we have done no gravel driving since Finland, I was very happy with our pace. But we hit some problems, like losing the intercom system, which meant we lost some time. We could have been on the podium had we kept a clean sheet. If we can get the budget together, I would like to join this competition again next year because it has been such a positive experience for me.”

Leo Urlichich: “We had some more problems on this rally but my times were better when everything was going ok. I must put the negatives from this year behind and move forward. We’ve had a great experience in WRC and to compete at this level is exactly what I want to do. Germany was my biggest challenge this year and my first rally on asphalt.”



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