Double Top As Pärn Extends Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy Lead In Poland

Double Top As Pärn Extends Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy Lead In Poland

Estonia's Sander Pärn delivered a controlled display of driving at Rally Poland this weekend to secure his second consecutive win on round two of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Guided by co-driver James Morgan from Wales, 22-year-old Pärn was fastest on nine of the 21 gravel stages to win by 30 seconds and extend his championship lead to 19 points.

 

In a repeat result of the opening round at Rally Portugal in April, Brits Tom Cave and Craig Parry finished in runner-up position, setting four quickest times along the way. Spaniards Yeray Lemes and Rogelio Penate completed the podium places to edge into third in the overall Trophy standings.

 

The feeder series to the FIA World Rally Championship continued its theme of close competition with seven of the 12 drivers claiming fastest times over the weekend. When the rally burst into life on Thursday afternoon, Frenchman Quentin Gilbert moved into the early lead, finishing just 0.4 seconds ahead of Pärn. However, Gilbert's rally ended in retirement after crashing his M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2 heavily into a tree on stage six. 

 

Spain's José Suárez had held third position for most of the event but he eventually retired with a broken engine after a pace-note error saw him roll off the road on stage 14 and cause extensive damage to the car. In a bizarre twist, Marius Aasen, the next competitor on the road, collided with Suárez as he rejoined the track, with Aasen then sidelined after breaking his front suspension. 

 

Finn Max Vatanen had a consistent and trouble-free rally as he cruised to fourth place, topping the times on two stages along the way. Local driver Szymon Kornicki, competing on his home round of the WRC, used his knowledge of the Polish roads to steadily up his pace and finish fifth. Nicolas Amiouni from Lebanon came home in sixth with Nil Solans seventh and Aasen eventually eighth. Leo Urlichich and Ghislain de Mevius both retired after a number of problems.

 

In contrast to the technically demanding and abrasive stages of Rally Portugal, this weekend's event saw competitors race across smooth and soft gravel roads around Mikołajki in the north of Poland. But the sandy roads brought their own challenges and, when the rally trekked across the border into Lithuania on Friday, the second pass of two stages were cancelled when the deeply rutted roads were considered too rough to safely compete on.

 

The stages through the Polish countryside, however, are renowned for their high speeds and high-commitment corners. Drivers needed to have precise pace-notes to carry speed through corners and onto the long straights while DMACK's gravel tyre delivered the performance and puncture resistance to safely negotiate the rutted roads.

 

While the drivers race with identical Fiestas built and maintained by M-Sport, Rally Poland saw the cars powered by sustainable race fuel, provided by the Trophy's official partner GEM Fuel, for the first time.

 

In addition to the main event, four competitors took part in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Shoot Out with Luxembourg's Hugo Arellano taking the winning spot in the end of year Shoot-Out for a prize drive in a Fiesta R5.

 

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "It's been another challenging event but this time because of the high speeds and rutted roads. However, it's encouraging to see so many drivers fighting for victory and I'm pleased we could supply them with tyres which performed exceptionally well across the tough four-day event. Sander and Tom had a cracking battle all weekend and many of the less experienced drivers have upped their pace from the first round in Portugal.

 

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport Managing Director, said: "To see seven different crews set fastest times proves how close the competition has been. But in the end, Sander Pärn and Tom Cave highlighted how vital experience can be. The two of them did and excellent job, trading times throughout, and I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone progresses at the next event. It was also great to se how well the speed of the Fiesta R2 compared with that of the other two-wheel-drive cars. We've seen some fantastic times from the Fiesta R2 drivers and that really highlights the effectiveness of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy concept.

 

Finishing Driver Quotes

 

Marius Aasen: "It was a difficult rally and with the fast roads it's an advantage to have some experience here. We were improving all weekend but then had the unfortunate problem yesterday which forced us out. Today felt better and we had a push to set a quickest stage time.

 

Nicolas Amiouni: "It is an amazing rally and I really enjoyed it. In Portugal we didn't even complete one stage so to get the mileage and experience here by finishing the rally is very useful. Throughout the rally we closed the gap to the cars in front and those improvements step-by-step are important.

 

Tom Cave: "I'm very pleased with another second. We showed a good pace on the first day but we just couldn't catch Sander after he pushed harder on the rutted stages. The roads were difficult and we decided to push when it was safe and back off a little when it was too risky. I'm looking forward to Finland, it should be another good battle.

 

Yeray Lemes: "We are happy to come here for the first time and finish third. I'm not really used with these conditions so we didn't take many chances. My confidence is not so good on the narrow, fast roads and when we ran wide on the first day I knew it was better to settle things down a little. But third in the overall championship is not bad for the moment.

 

Szymon Kornicki: "I'm happy with how my home event has gone. I know I can be faster on some of the stages but it's just my second WRC event and I think I'm making good progress at the moment. I'm optimistic for the future as I feel more in control and know where to push a little and where I need to lift off, so it has been a good learning event for me.

 

Sander Pärn: "It was quite a nice rally and obviously we are very happy to score another victory. I didn't really make any mistakes all weekend and we went for a push on the Lithuanian stages. They were badly rutted but I knew we could push and try to get a gap from Tom. It's a perfect start to the championship for me.

 

Nil Solans: "It was a really difficult rally and these type of high-speed roads are very new to me. Yes, we had a few problems when we went off the road after moving out of the ruts on one stage but it was important for us to get this experience. It has been the most difficult rally I've ever done.

 

 

Max Vatanen: "I'm a little disappointed because I came here with the hope of being more on the pace. I got my confidence back a little yesterday and set some good times which showed that we were getting faster. Now we go to my home rally in Finland. I've never competed on it before but I know the conditions and hopefully I can have a little help from the local knowledge.

29-06-2014

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