Drive DMACK leading WRC 2 as it seeks 2014 repeat in Poland
The Drive DMACK World Rally Team will return to Poland in the hope of a repeat of its first ever one-two victory. Jari Ketomaa and Ott Tänak romped home at the top of the WRC 2 class in 2014, and next week’s round seven of the FIA World Rally Championship, will see Ketomaa return alongside Sander Pärn at the wheel of the team’s two Ford Fiesta R5 rally cars. Topping the championship standings, the Drive DMACK team is on track to defend its WRC 2 Teams world title and both drivers will be hoping to capitalise on the ultra-fast, smooth gravel roads in Poland.
Dick Cormack, Dmack managing director, said: “Looking back on last year’s performances, we expect our soft tyre to be well suited to the conditions in Poland but the stages could be pretty demanding on the second pass. The WRC 2 championship is becoming increasingly competitive with the addition of the works Skoda team and next week’s event is set to be a proper high-speed race.”
The conditions in Poland should also suit Dmack’s rubber. The soft, sandy surfaces mean tyre wear is not expected to be an issue but the roads are likely to rut significantly and expose rocks for the second pass. The high-speed stages through the Polish countryside will demand high levels of performance and precision, allowing drivers to confidently cruise through the corners.
To cope with the soft surfaces, Dmack has nominated its DMG+2 soft compound S6 tyre, which topped the time-sheets on all but two special stages last year. Competitors can use a maximum of 22 tyres and also have the option to use a limited number of the alternative S3 hard compound should the conditions change.
Ketomaa and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom will be looking to bounce back from their final-day retirement in Portugal. The Finns excelled on the high-speed stages around the Polish lake district last year and will be hoping to capitalise on their experience.
Estonian Pärn, with British co-driver James Morgan took the overall victory in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy last year. Stepping up to WRC 2 this season as part of their prize, the pair feel well prepared after a pre-event test in Estonia earlier this week. Pärn is hoping to feel a little more at home in Poland with the roads bearing a strong similarity to his native stages.
The action is once again based in Mikołajki – a small town set in the middle of the picturesque Masurian Lake District in the north-east of the country. However, the majority of the event is new and that means a level playing field and pretty intense battles over the weekend – all watched by huge numbers of fans who flock from neighbouring countries.
After a short blast through the super special stage on Thursday night, it’s straight into the longest day of action to the north-east of Mikołajki on Friday – made even tougher with no mid-day service. Crews do, however, get the chance to replace their rubber at a remote tyre fitting zone in Goldap.
Saturday’s action is placed out to the east of rally HQ before two stages on Sunday complete the final tests.
Rally Poland is also round two of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, which is led by Finnish star Max Vatanen.
Jari Ketomaa said: “We know the surface in Poland suits our car and tyres well so I’m pretty confident ahead of next week. The roads are great, nice and flowing and we’ve got quite a few new stages this year so it will be a big challenge. It’s an enjoyable rally with a really nice atmosphere and lots of fans in the stages.”
Sander Pärn said: “I should be more familiar with the roads in Poland – from competing last year and also they are similar to back home in Estonia. We’ve been testing this week so I’m more confident now going into the rally. Our aim is to step it up a gear to try and improve the times and I think this type of rally will help me do that.”