WRC2 A FULL 2013
DMACK Seeks Home Victory With Fab Four
DMACK is set to mount a strong challenge for WRC2 glory when the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship draws to a close with next week’s revived Wales Rally GB. The British tyre firm will be supplying a quartet of top drivers all in Ford Fiesta R5 cars.
DMACK will use the event to demonstrate just how well its products are suited to the cost-effective WRC2 category as drivers use the DMG+2 gravel tyre which took a dominant debut victory at the hands of Jari Ketomaa at Rally Finland in August.
Finn Ketomaa will lead the charge again when the UK’s round of the world championship kicks off on Thursday in North Wales. He and Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen will pilot a pair of Autotek-run Fiesta R5 cars in the traditional DMACK livery – both Scandinavian drivers hoping to exploit their extensive gravel rally experience.
However, boosting the DMACK challenge, they will be joined by a pair of high-profile local heroes planning to make the most of their home advantage on the classic north- and mid-Wales forests.
Triple British Rally Champion Mark Higgins returns to tackle his home event after a five-year break. The 42-year-old resident of mid-Wales boasts an impressive set of results from Rally GB and finished sixth overall and top privateer driver in 2002.
Higgins, a professional rally coach and stunt driver on the last two James Bond movies, has been attracted back to the event due to its revised location and format – which now takes in a host of refreshed, demanding gravel stages.
British Rally front-runner 21-year-old Tom Cave completes the fab four. From Aberdovery in mid-Wales, this is Cave’s fifth attempt at his home event and last year he finished second in the SWRC category.
With its traditional position at the end of the rally season, Rally GB is renowned for its slippery, muddy forest roads mixed with wet, cold and sometimes foggy weather. However, DMACK has a strong history in these cool conditions. In 2011 Ott Tanak scored a top-three WRC stage-time on this event and in 2012 DMACK claimed its first-ever fastest overall time on a muddy stage at Rally de Espana.
An evolution of that tyre has been nominated for next week’s showdown. The new S6 soft compound DMG+2 gravel tyre was introduced in August and immediately set a series of fastest times to seal WRC2 victory at Rally Finland. If the stages are dry and the weather warms up next week, then competitors can choose to switch to the medium S3 compound. A maximum of 24 tyres are permitted for the event.
Organisers have worked hard to revive the event and have moved rally base to Deeside near Chester, making it much more accessible to fans. The rally roars into life on Thursday evening with a ceremonial start at Conwy Quay followed by three difficult night-time stages in north-Wales which are new to most drivers.
On Friday competitors head south to mid-Wales for the longest leg of the event – a loop of three more-familiar stages including Hafren, the longest test of the event at 32.14km, and the famous Sweet Lamb venue which attracts huge numbers of rally fans. The loop is repeated following a remote service at Newtown.
Saturday sees a day of action with no mid-day service including Gartheiniog and the 21.9km Dyfi stage before crews finish with two short blasts around Chirk Castle near Llangollen.
The final day is a little more sedate with just over 50km of action as the rally draws to a close with a 4.58km run over the asphalt Great Orme scenic drive before finish podium celebrations in Llandudno. In total the rally features 22 stages and 312km of timed action.
Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said: “The new-look Wales Rally GB is hotly anticipated and has attracted some top-class British drivers. DMACK has a strong driver line-up for the championship finale and we’re confident that the nominated S6 tyre will be perfect for the traditionally wet conditions. Our aim is to score another WRC2 victory and prove how well-suited the DMACK range is to competitors in this category.”
Jari Ketomaa said: “GB is always a tough event but I don’t mind the conditions at all. The roads are perfect, really good fun to drive on and I think we have the perfect tyre for the rally. The performance was good in Finland and we were always fast when it was wet so I’m really looking forward to getting started. We will take things stage by stage and try to stay out of trouble.”
Eyvind Brynildsen said: “I love the roads in Wales and enjoy the tricky, slippery conditions that we normally get there. I have some experience from a few years ago when we were fastest in PWRC and I know from Finland that this new tyre compound is competitive and will be perfect for the slippery conditions in Wales. I believe the DMACK Autotek team will be able to help me fight for a top-three place.”
Mark Higgins said: “Wales Rally GB is a great opportunity for me to have a real blast in one of the new-generation Fiesta R5 cars. The introduction of new stages in north- and mid-Wales, which we used back in the late 90s, has certainly helped to spice up the event. I haven’t competed in the UK for quite a while so I expect to take a little while to get fully up to speed.”
Tom Cave said: “I’m fairly familiar with some of the stages, however, there are also lots of new ones, so it’s going to be an interesting mix. It will also be fantastic to get back into the Welsh stages at night. There will be plenty of firsts for me; the first time in an R5 car, the first time running with MSL MotorSport and the first time on DMACK tyres. All of these have an impressive pedigree so I have no concerns and can’t wait for the pre-event test and the start of the event in Llandudno.”
Glenn Patterson / Media DMACK Motorsport
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