Drive Dmack Fiesta Trophy heads to Poland

Tom Cave and Craig Parry Tom Cave and Craig Parry have previous experience in Poland, having competed there in 2009

The Dmack supported Drive Dmack Fiesta Trophy heads to round two in Poland next week following a competitive first outing in Portugal. Dmack will supply a maximum of 14 DMG2 compound G42 rally tyres to each crew.

Five different drivers topped the overall standings during the three-day Rally de Portugal before Estonian Sander Pärn snatched victory on the very last loop of stages. Dmack predicts that a lack of experience of Lotos Rally Poland, having not featured on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar since 2009, will put everyone on a level playing field, with serious competition expected in Mikołajki.

Two drivers, however, have an obvious advantage. Runner-up on the opening round, British driver Tom Cave tackled Rally Poland in 2009 and set a series of fastest stage times in his Ford Fiesta ST. Local driver Szymon Kornicki is also likely to benefit from a home advantage with his experience of the Polish roads and support from the hoards of home fans expected to turn out next weekend.

However, there are many other competitors who can’t be discounted. Frenchman Quentin Gilbert also led for a spell in Portugal and his current WRC 2 campaign will ensure he’s fully up to speed. The high-speed stages in Poland will also suit Max Vatanen from Finland and Norway’s Marius Aasen while the three Spanish drivers, José Suárez, Yeray Lemes and Nil Solans could also spring a surprise.

Belgium’s Ghislain de Mévius will be hoping for a strong haul of points to back up his third place podium in Portugal while two new co-drivers will take part in the Trophy for the first time. Joseph Matar joins Nicolas Amiouni in an all-Lebanese partnership and Irish driver Darragh Mullen makes his WRC debut alongside Canada’s Leo Urlichich.

The Rally Poland stages are set to challenge the entire field. The high speeds and fast roads mean accurate pace-notes will be vital. Most of the surfaces are pretty soft and sandy, and are expected to rut significantly for the second pass. To cope with the conditions, competitors will use Dmack’s medium compound gravel tyre with a maximum of 14 available over the weekend. It’s also the first round where cars will be powered by sustainable race fuel provided by the Trophy’s official partner GEM Fuel.

While the majority of the 24 competitive stages take place to the north-east of host town Mikołajki in the picturesque Masurian Lake District, Friday’s action will see crews trek across the border for two loops of two stages in Lithuania separated by a remote service.

Poland is also a home event for the M-Sport team which prepares and runs the identical Ford Fiesta R2 rally cars used in the Trophy. Each one has been re-prepped after Portugal at the team’s workshops in Krakow and drivers will give them a final shake down on Thursday morning.

While the 12 crews battle it out for the ultimate prize of a full season in the 2015 WRC 2 championship using a Fiesta R5, Dmack and M-Sport have also added two new awards to this year’s package. Competitors who had taken part in a maximum of two WRC events before the start of the season will be eligible for the Rookie Award – with the winner at the end of the year going forward to the season-ending Shoot Out to win a one-off WRC 2 outing in 2015.

They will be joined by one winning crew from the Drive Dmack Fiesta Shoot-Out on each of the five Trophy rounds – an extension of the main series which allows drivers to compete alongside the championship regulars with their own cars and a subsidised entry and tyre package.

Dick Cormack, Dmack managing director, said: “I’m expecting Rally Poland to be pretty competitive. Everyone has an event under their belt to settle in and the conditions in Poland should be easier on the cars and provide the foundations for some close battles. The softer road conditions should suit DMACK but competitors will need to be careful on the second pass, with rutted roads increasing the potential for sharp rocks.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said: “Following the close-fought competition that we saw in Portugal, I’m sure that we’ll see more of the same next weekend. We have a very determined group of talented crews and there will be a number of drivers looking towards victory in Poland. This will be a new event for most of the competitors. Offering something much closer to a level playing field, the crews will be able to judge where they are and where they need to make improvements.”

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