DMACK Hoping For Finnish Flyer At Season Highlight

DMACK Hoping For Finnish Flyer At Season Highlight

With a renewed sense of optimism after a stunning one-two in Poland, the Drive DMACK World Rally Team heads to Neste Oil Rally Finland next week, returning to the scene of a show-stopping performance from Jari Ketomaa in 2013. Round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship, however, promises to offer an even greater challenge with a selection of new stages at the spiritual home of rallying.

Finn Ketomaa led WRC 2 on his home rally from start to finish last year on the world rally debut of both the Ford Fiesta R5 and DMACK’s new soft compound S6 tyre. His seventh overall result also saw him take an R5 specification car to its first ever WRC points finish.

The specialist nature of Rally Finland, with high speeds, blind corners and huge jump-inducing crests, means local drivers have dominated the event in the past. While Ketomaa and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom will have the backing of the home crowd, there are a host of new stages this year providing a huge challenge for everyone.

Team-mates Ott Tänak and Raigo Molder come to Finland searching for a hat-trick of wins in their Autotek Ford Fiesta R5. Alongside success after a dominant WRC2 performance at Rally Poland, the pair took a stunning overall victory on their home event at Rally Estonia last weekend.

After a slow start to the championship, Tänak will be hoping to use his experience of high-speed roads next week to score another strong finish and get his championship challenge back on track. Both crews will test on Sunday to finalise event settings.

All DMACK runners will use the nominated S6 soft compound tyre which sealed the WRC 2 win last year. A maximum of 28 tyres are permitted for both the event and shakedown, with an option to use up to 16 harder S3 compound tyres within that maximum allocation.

This year’s Rally Finland is set to be another thriller. Organisers have extended the event and added a series of new stages to the four classic tests remaining from last year. The high-speeds, commitment corners and roller-coaster crests make it a legendary event, one of the highlights of the season and a real favourite with both fans and drivers.

The stage surfaces are a bit of a mix though 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, can also create chaos.

WRC 2 front-runner Yuriy Protasov has switched to DMACK for the event and the firm is also set to supply popular local Kristian Sohlberg and Norwegians Eyvind Brynildsen and Henning Solberg. DMACK is also backing the future of young talent in Finland by supporting Teemu Suninen in a Citroen DS3. The 20-year-old was chosen as the winner of a prize drive after a series of assessments by Rally Finland organisers AKK Sports.

Next week’s event is also the mid-way point of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy – the oversubscribed feeder series for young WRC hopefuls. The 12 registered crews vying for the ultimate prize in rallying will be joined by four Shoot-Out competitors gunning for a place in the final.

Rally Finland is again based in Jyväskylä and bursts into action with four stages to the north-east of the city on Thursday evening. Friday is the longest day of the rally with most of the competition based around Jämsä in two loops of four tests. Saturday offers a number of classic stages to the west of Jyväskylä before a short loop on Sunday brings the action to a close. Twenty-six stages cover a total of 360.94km of action.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said: “Even though confidence is high after a series of recent wins, Rally Finland is an ultra-demanding event which requests the utmost of respect. The conditions are varied and require a mix of high-speed precision alongside technical traction in the softer sections. We know our tyres are up to the challenge so it’s down to the crews to best manage this legendary event.”

Jari Ketomaa said: “After a strong result last year, I’m really looking forward to my home rally and know that we have a competitive package with DMACK. I believe it will be a difficult event as there are many new roads being used this year but this rally is one of the highlights of the championship and it’s always a special feeling. As well as the high speeds, we’ve seen some of the roads starting to get rough in recent years so there’s always a mix of challenges to master.”

Ott Tänak said: “It will be a really good fight in Finland. I last competed in 2012 but this year many of the stages are different. Finland is such a unique event that usually it takes a little while to adjust to the speeds. This year we’ve been lucky to compete on Rally Estonia, where the conditions and speeds are similar, so hopefully we can be on the pace right from the start – it’s been very good for the preparation.”


DMACK Hoping For Finnish Flyer At Season Highlight
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