Title Decider As DMACK Fiesta Finale Hits Spain

Title Decider As DMACK Fiesta Finale Hits Spain

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy pacesetters will aim to capture the crowning glory as a super season reaches a fantastic finale in Spain. There have been thrills and spills as pretenders to the Trophy throne have shown off their skills in front of large crowds across Europe during 2016.

But a competitive campaign for the crews boils down to the year-ending RallyRACC-Rally De Espana next weekend. Based in the Costa Daurada holiday resort of Salou, south of Barcelona, it is the only mixed surface encounter of the calendar.

Welshman Osian Pryce is currently in pole position to lift the title. Pryce, 23, and co-driver Dale Furniss sit top of the Trophy table with 98 points. They chalked up race victories at the season opener in Portugal and also last time out in Germany.

Just 14 points behind them is 26-year-old Max Vatanen. He is the only driver to have also competed in the DDFT in 2014 and 2015, and is aiming to make it third time lucky. Vatanen has one rally win under his belt this year having triumphed at his home event in Finland.

Sixteen points behind Vatanen is Jon Armstrong, of Northern Ireland, who tasted victory at round three in Poland. Armstrong, aged 21, made a one-off Trophy appearance in Spain last year in a privately-entered Fiesta, and will hope to build on that experience.

Norwegian Oscar Solberg, 20, is seeking to bolster his points tally, while 19-year-old Gus Greensmith, of England, will look to end his campaign with a win. Competition will also be fierce among rookies Karan Patel, aged 25, of Kenya, Frenchman Nicola Ciamin, 18, and 30-year-old Jakub Brzezinski, from Poland. All have gained a great deal of experience throughout the season.

There is an added incentive for all the competitors next weekend, with the final pair of 2017 WRC 2 prize drives up for grabs. These will be awarded to the duo with the biggest points haul from the final two rallies of the season in Germany and Spain. Pryce and Vatanen have already each netted a pair of prize drives for 2017 following their points-scoring performances earlier in the season.

Two additional drivers will make guest appearances in the final round. They are the Belgian, Guillaume de Mévius, who featured in the corresponding race last year, and Juuso Nordgren, who made his WRC debut at Rally Finland as part of the Future Rally Star of Finland prize drive.

RallyRACC-Rally De Espana opens on Thursday night. It gets under way with a street stage in the Montjuïc area of Barcelona, on roads that hosted the Spanish Grand Prix F1 race on four occasions. Friday sees a full day on gravel, after which the dedicated team of M-Sport mechanics will have an extended service to switch the cars' specifications for a two-day asphalt assault. This includes changing suspension components and adding bigger brakes. To cope with the conditions on two surfaces, crews will use both gravel and asphalt DMACK tyres.

Staged by WRC tyre manufacturer DMACK along with M-Sport, the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy provides a training ground for budding world rally stars of the future. The crews are competing in identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars - powered by Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost turbo-charged engine.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “Spain always produces an exciting climax to the season as crews fight for the final title and championship places. Racing on both surfaces is a fitting way to decide the winner and I’m looking forward to another big battle.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said: “As we approach the season finale, I can honestly say that this has been one of the best seasons to date - with some very talented youngsters coming to the fore. The final round provides the biggest challenge yet. With both gravel and asphalt stages, the crews will have to prove their ability on both surfaces and, with a big battle for both the championship title and the last pair of prize drives, I think we've got a very exciting weekend to look forward to.”

Driver Quotes

Nicolas Ciamin from France said: “The two surfaces will make it interesting, switching from one surface to another immediately is never easy. I’ve competed on two events since Germany to get more experience and I’ve made good progress on Tarmac. It’s been a tough season but a huge experience and my focus is on getting to the finish ramp next weekend.”

Gus Greensmith from England said: “The mixed surfaces always offer up a new challenge. You have to adjust your braking points, racing lines and your perception of how fast you can go. We’ve had a two-day test and I’m looking forward to the event. The Pratdip stage on Sunday is, in my opinion, one of the best stages in the whole WRC series.”

Juuso Nordgren from Finland said: “The mixed surfaces will be a big challenge, but especially for me as this will be my first time on Tarmac. We haven’t had a chance to do many test kilometres so my aim for this rally is really to see the finish line and improve on the stage times. It’s also my first rally abroad so I’m really excited for the challenge.”

Karan Patel from Kenya said: “I feel it will be challenging as it will be my second time driving on Tarmac, however, I’m confident that I will further improve my pace from Germany. I have been working hard on improving my stamina and focus levels using different techniques and I’m really aiming for my best result in Spain.”

Osian Pryce from Wales said: “I think Saturday will be interesting, it will be the first day after making the transition from gravel to Tarmac, so this could be an opportunity to make up some time. I’ve spent time working on my Tarmac driving technique, hopefully this will help on the smooth roads of Spain but our aim is definitely to win the final prize drives and hopefully the overall championship.”

Oscar Solberg from Norway said: “I’m really looking forward to it and the challenge of driving on Tarmac and gravel. We done a rally in Germany and made progress with car set-up and dampers. I’ve made very good progress this season and it was my aim to finish all the events and get the experience.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “It will be fun to race on both surfaces. I will drive on a French gravel rally the weekend before so I’m hoping to be in good shape and up to speed. I’m going to give it my best shot and aim to win the event. Spain is a great rally and I’m really looking forward to next week.”

Rally RACC Rally de Espana
Based: Salou, Spain
Start: 13.15 Thursday 13 October
Finish: 13.41 Sunday 16 October
Stages: 19 stages, 321.08 km
Longest stage: SS4/7 Terra Alta 38.95 km
Surface: Mixed, gravel and asphalt
Tyres: Gravel, DMACK DMG2 175/70R15 G42. Asphalt, DMACK DMT-RC 195/50R16 T51 and W3. Maximum permitted 22.

Trophy Classification After Round 4
1. Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss 98
2. Max Vatanen / Maxime Vilmot 84
3. Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Rookie 68
4. Bernardo Sousa / Hugo Magalhaes 47
5. Oscar Solberg / Patrik Barth Rookie 34
6. Nicolas Ciamin / Thibault de la Haye Rookie 32
7. Gus Greensmith / Alex Gelsomino 31
8. Jakub Brzeziński / Jakub Gerber Rookie 31
9. Karan Patel / Phil Hall Rookie 12
10. Dillon Van Way / Andrew Edwards Rookie 10

2016-10-07

Title Decider As DMACK Fiesta Finale Hits Spain
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