WRC A FULL 2016
DMACK Hoping To Maintain Leading Pace in Finland.
Rally Finland Preview
23 July 2016
After leading an FIA World Rally Championship event for the first time and scoring its best-ever finish, the DMACK World Rally Team will contest one of the most hotly anticipated rounds of the series next week at Neste Rally Finland.
Narrowly missing out on a dream maiden victory a few weeks ago in Poland, Estonians Ott Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder will be back in confident style to tackle the high-speed, rollercoaster roads idolised by drivers and rally fans across the world.
Since DMACK launched a new range of British-built gravel tyres earlier in the season, Tänak has been exceptionally fast and was untouchable in Poland. He’s hoping to show that pace again next week, but Finland is a more technical event with blind crests and daunting dips where accurate pace notes and extreme levels of trust and commitment are required.
DMACK will supply three top-level world rally cars in Finland including Tänak’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC. They will use DMACK’s DMG+2 tyre in soft compound GS61 primarily, along with the alternative hard GH21 – a maximum of 24 are available for the event.
In WRC 2, Norwegians Marius Aasen and Veronica Engan will again join Drive DMACK Trophy Team runners Karl Kruuda and Martin Järveoja. Despite showing impressive speed in Poland in their Fiesta R5s, both crews had disappointing end results and will be looking to notch up a solid finish in Finland, on roads where they both have a good level of experience.
Joining them on DMACK rubber will be local stars Janne Tuohino, also in a Fiesta R5, and Kari Hytonen at the wheel of a Fabia R5. They will be armed with the DMG+2 tyre in soft GS61 and hard GH42, and will have access to a total of 26 tyres including shakedown.
DMACK tyres have consistently proven their performance at Rally Finland. Dubbed the Finnish Grand Prix, the action is fought out over extreme gravel stages featuring huge jumps and blind crests. Pace notes must be accurate to describe the exact lines over flat-out jumps and even the smallest mistake is punished hard.
The stage surfaces are a bit of a mix and can really add to the challenge. Many of the tests run over wide, smooth roads with a hard base – boosting grip levels and driving up average speeds. But more technical stages, with soft surfaces that can rut badly on the second pass, may expose sharp rocks and cause punctures.
Next week’s event is also the mid-way point of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Series leader Osian Pryce has a six-point advantage but is likely to face a challenge from local star Max Vatanen – two prize drives will be awarded at the event.
Rally Finland is again based in Jyväskylä and bursts into action with the exciting Harju street stage through the town centre on Thursday night before drivers head west on Friday towards Keuruu for classic forest challenges including Mökkiperä and Jukojärvi. Saturday will take crews south to the Jämsä region and the legendary Ouninpohja – the rally’s signature stage. Sunday’s route extends south east of Jyväskylä into areas that have not seen rally cars this millennium. The event covers 333.6km of action across 24 stages.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “We are confident that our new gravel tyres can perform well again in Finland, but it’s a different, more technical, event with many variables. We will be aiming for another strong result but the second pass of the stages, where the roads can rut badly, can be extremely challenging.”
Ott Tänak said: “Finland is always a highlight of the season and all the drivers love the high speeds and rollercoaster roads. Our confidence is good after Rally Poland and once again we will push as hard as possible. I’ve done the rally quite a few times now and have a strong level of experience so, if things feel good, then we should have a chance.”
Karl Kruuda said: “The feeling is quite good after Poland and I’m looking forward to some fast stages again. The aim is to try and be up there with the other guys and pick out a few stages where we can beat them, but Finland is still a tough and sometimes daunting place. Poland highlighted a few areas where we can make some changes so we will aim to improve further.”
Marius Aasen said: “Finland is one of my favourite rallies and I have always dreamed of participating there in a R5 car. This will be my fourth time doing the rally, but I know the Fiesta R5 is much faster than the cars I have driven there before, so it will be a big difference. After our crash in Poland I think we will need some stages to get back into the good rhythm. This time we will use some of our pacenotes from last year and I’m sure that will help us.”
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