Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy Blasts Off In Portugal

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy Blasts Off In Portugal

Eleven drivers will line up for the start of a turbo-charged 2015 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy at the Vodafone Rally de Portugal next weekend. Six of the drivers who competed in last year’s hugely successful inaugural series have returned with the remaining five bringing a fresh feel to a high octane 2015 campaign. They will battle it out over six points-scoring rounds at five events of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Competitors have their sights trained on landing the biggest prize in world rallying – a lucrative full seven-round season of WRC 2 competition in 2016 using a Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5.

The challenge is headed by the UK’s Tom Cave and Craig Parry, runners-up in last year’s series, who will be gunning to go one better in their quest for WRC glory. Also returning is 2014 front-runner Norwegian Marius Aasen and rookie champion Max Vatanen from Finland – both of whom will have new co-drivers alongside them this time around.

Ghislain de Mevius, Nicolas Amiouni and Nil Solans from Spain, winner of the final round in 2014, make up the six crews who have experience from last season. De Mevius and Vatanen have a little knowledge of next week’s rally region having competed on the Rallye Serras de Fafe in March.

New for 2015 is American Will Hudson – competing on his first WRC event and guided by experienced co-driver Alex Gelsomino – along with Edoardo Bresolin from Italy and British Junior Rally Champion Gus Greensmith. At 18, Greensmith is the youngest driver in the series and will miss the first recce day as he’s sitting an A-level exam in the UK. Dutch stars Kevin van Deijne and Mats van den Brand complete the line-up. Van den Brand takes his place as part of his prize for winning the Trophy shoot-out at the end of last season.

The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy is a joint initiative between WRC tyre manufacturer DMACK and rally preparation experts M-Sport. It aims to help provide a cost-effective platform for up and coming drivers to experience the FIA World Rally Championship. Competitors attended a two-day workshop at M-Sport this week and underwent sporting, technical and media training to strengthen their preparation for the start of the new season.

In a real show of sporting equality, they will battle it out using identical Ford Fiesta R2 rally cars newly-developed by M-Sport. They’re powered by Ford’s 1.0 litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine, powered by sustainable GEM fuel and equipped with the latest generation Morris lubricants. The new car boasts a raft of modifications including revised transmission, new braking system, electronics and revised suspension to give the new Fiesta R2 even more adjustability.

The identical cars will again be equipped with DMACK’s well-proven range of successful gravel tyres – with crews permitted to use a maximum of 18 tyres from an allocation of 14 medium compound G42 and six soft G62 tyres.

This year’s Rally de Portugal moves back north for the first time in 14 years to a new base at Matosinhos near Porto. After a start in Guimares on Thursday night and a 3.36km super-special stage at Lousada, the rally moves north for a three-stage loop near the Spanish border.

Saturday is the longest day and includes two passes over the 37.67km Fridao test before Sunday sees the return of the iconic Fafe stage, steeped in WRC history, which is set to be swamped with tens of thousands of rally fans.

Winners of last year’s inaugural Trophy, Estonian Sander Pärn and Brit James Morgan, will kick off their prize programme in Portugal at the wheel of an M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta R5. Alongside Jari Ketomaa, they will form a strong pairing in DMACK’s defence of its WRC 2 Teams world championship title.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “After such a successful inaugural season we’re really looking forward to our second year partnering M-Sport with the Trophy. Not only does it provide a platform for some intense competition but it allows DMACK to invest in the future talent of the sport and provide an affordable step into WRC.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said: “We’re looking forward to another exciting Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy and it’s great to see some new faces along with some more familiar ones. The new car provides added excitement as the first of its kind to be homologated under the new regulations and I’m sure this year’s competitors will be able to showcase the upgrades to full effect. At M-Sport we’ve always been at the forefront when it comes to introducing new talent and new technologies; and this year’s trophy truly showcases this to the fullest.”

Driver Quotes

Marius Aasen (23) from Norway said: “I am really looking forward to it. I was testing the car on Tuesday and it feels really good, I am getting more and more comfortable with it. In Portugal everything will be different because the car is new and the race is located in the north of the country. I will just try to think about my own pace and my own driving.”

Nicolas Amiouni (26) from Lebanon said: “I haven’t competed since Spain last year so I’m really keen to get back in the car. Last year was a learning year for me and we picked up so much experience that hopefully we can make use of that advantage this year. I’m happy that it’s a new rally for everyone and I’m looking forward to driving the new car.”

Mats van den Brand (24) from Netherlands said: “It is a new car and for me it is a new step in my career. It will be my first time rallying on gravel. Winning the shootout was a big boost for me and I’m thankful to the KNAF Talent First programme that has supported me this year. I hope to do well and drive myself into the picture.”

Edoardo Bresolin (24) from Italy said: “I am happy to take part in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. For me it is the first time with a two-wheel drive car, and I hope to do my best to get the best result. It is good experience and a good opportunity for the race, for the pacenotes and to work with a professional team. I hope to win but the other drivers are all very fast.”

Tom Cave (23) from UK said: “We showed good pace on all the events last year so I’m confident that we can carry that forward this season. The new car feels really good and I’m happy with the new stages in the north – it means we need strong pacenotes and I’ve got every confidence in my system. The event is set to be extremely popular with the Portuguese fans famous for their energy and enthusiasm.”

Kevin Van Deijne (25) from Netherlands said: “I am very excited about the series. The car has changed a lot for this year in a positive way. This year I can compete on the same level because all the cars are the same. This is the most important step for a young driver as you are competing at a higher level but in the same car. Because of the high standard of drivers you will improve very fast.”

Gus Greensmith (18) from UK said: “I’ve got an exam on Tuesday so will miss the first day of the recce. So, for me, the focus is on getting to the end of the rally and completing the event – then we can push more in Poland. The new car has improved suspension which gave me more confidence so I’m just counting down the hours until next week.”

Will Hudson (29) from USA said: “I am expecting to learn a lot and am sure the pressure will be high, so I need to manage my desire to over-drive and try to finish every stage. I want to get as much experience as possible. For me in America I have only ever had one or two other competitors so to pit myself against other good young drivers will be exciting.”

Ghislain de Mevius (26) from Belgium said: “I did a rally in the Fafe area earlier this year and I really liked the roads. I’m back again in this championship as I believe, for young drivers, it’s the most cost-effective with such a big prize. My aim is to improve on last year where I finished off the season with a good performance.”

Nil Solans (23) from Spain said: “We are here to keep pushing again and I’m really happy to be back with Drive DMACK again. We won the last round in Spain and I hope to be able to continue that speed. I’ve done a few rallies this year in Spain already and now we try to use the experience to good effect this season.”

Max Vatanen (24) from Finland said: “It is the best championship for a young driver like me who is aiming for the top. It is really strong competition and you need to be a quick driver but you need to think wisely also. We did the Fafe rally and the feeling was really good so now I’m just looking forward to getting behind the steering wheel and going for it.”

Rally de Portugal Entries

101 Tom Cave (UK) / Craig Parry (UK)
102 Marius Aasen (Norway) / Veronica Engan (Norway)
103 Max Vatanen (Finland) / Jacques Julien Renucci (France)
104 Nil Solans (Spain) / Miquel Ibanez (Spain)
106 Ghislain de Mevius (Belgium) / Johan Jalet (Belgium)
107 Mats van den Brand (Netherlands) / Martijn Wydaeghe (Netherlands)
108 Edoardo Bresolin (Italy) / Rudy Pollet (Italy)
109 Nicolas Amiouni (Lebanon) / Joseph Matar (Lebanon)
111 Kevin van Deijne (Netherlands) / Harman Scholtalbers (Netherlands)
112 Will Hudson (USA) / Alex Gelsomino (Italy)
114 Gus Greensmith (UK) / Elliott Edmondson (UK)

Brief biography information on each competitor and further details on the Trophy can be found here.

2015-05-15

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy Blasts Off In Portugal
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