Drive Dmack series rounds halfway point in Finland

Max Vatanen Max Vatanen will have the support of home fans and world-champ father Ari

Tyre supplier Dmack says the upcoming Neste Oil Rally Finland is set to be the highlight of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy season. The 12 crews will travel to the spiritual home of rallying with Sander Pärn leading the series, having scored a dominant two-wheel drive win on his home event of Rally Estonia. Briton Tom Cave in second place will try out Rally Finland for the first time, meanwhile, and has been working hard to improve his pacenotes. Dmack notes that Finland has been dominated by Scandinavian drivers, and local star Max Vatanen could spring a few surprises on his first attempt at his home rally. His father, 1981 World Champion Ari Vatanen, is sure to have passed on some advice as overall winner of the rally twice in the past. Vatanen senior will also address the full pack of Fiesta Trophy crews before the event to share some secrets on how to master the special stages.

Finland’s unforgiving stages are not easy for debutants. The high-speed roads feature flat-out blind corners and huge crests and jumps which can catapult the Ford Fiesta R2 rally cars high into the air. Experience is a huge bonus and accurate pacenotes are crucial. But, it’s these challenges and flowing roads which make the event a firm favourite with drivers and see huge numbers of spectators flock to the event.

Generally tyre wear on the smooth stages is not a big issue so Dmack will supply crews with its soft compound G62 tyre. It will need to provide precision but also a significant amount of puncture resistance to guard against the rocks which can poke through the surface on many of the softer rutted roads.

The identical M-Sport-prepared Fiestas will again be powered by sustainable race fuel provided by the Trophy’s official partner GEM Fuel when the action kicks off from host town Jyväskylä on Thursday evening. Competitors will tackle over 360km of timed action across 26 stages. Friday is the longest day and features two loops of four stages around Jämsä while Saturday’s stages boast a number of popular classics before crews finish on Sunday.

The 12 registered runners will be joined by four additional Shoot-Out entries competing in their own cars on Dmack tyres with the hope of winning a place in the final to win a one-off R5 drive.

Dick Cormack, Dmack managing director, said: “I’ve been looking forward to this event as I believe it will showcase the true stars from the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Finland demands skill, commitment, a clever approach and a good relationship between driver and co-driver. For the less experienced crews it will also be a great event to improve their skills and really learn how to better their pacenotes and driving.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said: “Finland is an iconic event in the championship and one that every driver wants to win. With that in mind, I think we can expect another extremely close-fought battle in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. This event provides a really unique challenge. The speed is obviously extremely high but there is also very little room for error and precision driving and pacenote delivery is essential. Make a mistake in Finland and you’ll have to deliver something special to make back the time. This will be a real test for the Drive DMACK competitors but I am sure that they are all looking forward to tackling these legendary stages.”

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