New Tyre, Team And Driver For DMACK In Finland

New Tyre, Team And Driver For DMACK In Finland

The Drive DMACK World Rally Team will tackle one of the most hotly anticipated rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship next week with a new line-up. Lead driver Jari Ketomaa will sit out his home round at Neste Oil Rally Finland on medical advice while fellow Finn Jarkko Nikara steps in to take his place.

With rules allowing the team to change one element of the entry, Nikara will be co-driven by Kaj Lindstrom in the Autotek-run Ford Fiesta R5. They will be joined by Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen and Swedish co-driver Anders Fredrikkson in a Fiesta RRC, with the team aiming to replicate the result from Rally Sweden where it sealed a dominant 1-2 finish.

After damaging his eye during a dramatic final-day crash in Portugal, current WRC 2 leader Ketomaa was advised to rest and allow his eye to heal naturally. So up stepped 29-year-old Nikara, who will contest Rally Finland for the ninth time – but his first drive in an R5 specification car.

Last year’s Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy winners Sander Pärn and James Morgan will run under a new second team, Drive DMACK 2, in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5. Despite crashing on the qualifying stage of last weekend’s Rally Estonia, Pärn’s confidence is high and knows he has decent pace in Finland – he finished 16th overall at the wheel of a Fiesta R2 last year.

All DMACK drivers will use an all-new soft compound evolution of the DMG+2 tyre. The new S6A features design tweaks to help improve performance, precision and lateral grip. A maximum of 22 tyres can be used over the weekend and 16 medium compound S3 are available as the alternative option.

That extra precision will come in handy next week on the demanding, high-speed roads. Dubbed the Finnish Grand Prix, the action is fought out over extreme gravel stages featuring huge jumps and blind crests. Pacenotes must be accurate to describe the exact lines over flat-out jumps and even the smallest mistake is punished hard.

The high-speeds, commitment corners and rollercoaster 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 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 where local star Max Vatanen will be hoping to regain the series lead from Norwegian Marius Aasen.

Rally Finland is again based in Jyväskylä and bursts into action with the exciting Harju street stage through the town centre on Thursday night. Friday is the longest day of the rally with most of the competition based around Jämsä. It includes two runs over the iconic Ouninpohja stage, the longest of the event at 34.39km, and there’s no mid-day service, just a remote tyre change zone.

Saturday offers a number of classic stages to the west of Jyväskylä before the final two tests on Sunday bring the action to a close. The event covers 319.38km of action across 20 stages.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said: “Our tyres have always performed well in Finland but we've played our joker to introduce an evolution of the successful S6, which should offer enhanced performance. We are all disappointed that Jari has been unable to take part and we wish him a speedy recovery. I'm confident Jarkko will be an excellent replacement.”

Jarkko Nikara said: “I think we have a good chance to get a podium as my experience of this event is good – this will be my ninth Rally Finland. I’m disappointed for Jari and very grateful for this opportunity, so I intend to make the most of this chance. I’ve never driven an R5 car before so our test on Monday will be pretty important.”

Eyvind Brynildsen said: “I haven’t competed in WRC since Rally Sweden but I feel much more prepared than last year as we’ve been driving successfully in the Norwegian championship. We have a decent chance in Finland. The pace was good last year and we are in a better position now – the car will also be strong on the second pass and that’s a good advantage.”

Sander Pärn said: “Despite our accident in Estonia last week, I’m still feeling confident ahead of Finland. We tested straight after the crash and that was important to get the confidence back again. I really want to go and enjoy the rally. The roads are similar to back home and we went well in Finland last year, winning the DMACK Trophy. If the confidence is good then we can aim to keep the speed from Poland.”


New Tyre, Team And Driver For DMACK In Finland
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