Vatanen Rocks After Rough Portugal Start

Vatanen Rocks After Rough Portugal Start

At the end of an exciting day of racing, the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy proved once again how competitive a championship it is. The overall lead changed three times with three different drivers taking stage wins. Finland’s Max Vatanen came out on top, leading Tom Cave by 26.8sec overnight with Marius Aasen a further 28.9sec.

Due to the earlier forest fires which rendered the Ponte de Lima stage impassable in the morning, stage five was also officially cancelled.

Section three began with the second pass of Caminha and by the end, the day’s third stage winner was recorded. Vatanen completed the stage in 13m 46s, followed closely by Mats van den Brand, who is competing on his first gravel rally, just +1.8sec back with Cave third. Vatanen’s strong finish inched him ahead of Marius Aasen overall. Things were really heating up going into the seventh and final stage of the day.

Vatanen continued his run of form and secured his second stage win of the day, finishing 24sec ahead of Ghislain de Mévius. This searing pace saw the young Finn move into the lead overall. Cave was reportedly suffering from electrical issues and finishing seventh on the stage reflected that. Having taken second place on SS6, it was disappointing for Dutch pilot van den Brand to suffer a puncture and drop enough time to finish last on SS7.

Max Vatanen said: “It was a better afternoon and after we got the issues sorted in service I felt I could drive the car to its potential. I just pushed where I could and tried to avoid mistakes. Even though we could add to the notes having driven this morning, I try to drive with my eyes and be reactive. I’ve never driven on such rough roads!”

Tom Cave said: “We had some electrical issues which meant I was losing power quite often, which was frustrating. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now; the stages are more open and hopefully it will feel less like just driving around rocks.”

Marius Aasen said: “Not so bad this afternoon but we got a puncture on stage six. It’s extremely rough out there. I’m surprised we didn’t have more problems to be honest. I’m happy with our position and I look forward to tomorrow.”

Overall Standing End of Friday

1. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 1h 20m 59.0s
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 1h 21m 25.8s
3. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 1h 21m 54.7s
4. Ghislain de Mévius / Geoffrey Brion 1h 22m 02.2s
5. Nil Solans / Miquel IbaƄez 1h 22m 55.2s
6. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 1h 23m 06.4s
7. Will Hudson / Alex Gelsomino 1h 23m 39.1s
8. Kevin van Deijne / Harmen Scholtalbers 1h 24m 57.3s
9. Mats van den Brand / Martijn Wydaeghe 1h 25m 43.3s
10. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 1h 27m 39.1s
11. Edoardo Bresolin / Rudy Pollet 1h 36m 00.3s


Vatanen Rocks After Rough Portugal Start
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