Pärn Picks Portugal For DMACK Prize Season

Pärn Picks Portugal For DMACK Prize Season

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy winners Sander Pärn and James Morgan will sample the biggest prize in world rallying next week as they take to the wheel of their M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta R5. The pair will contest Rally de Portugal, round five of the FIA World Rally Championship, as the opening round of their prize-season WRC 2 campaign.

Estonian Pärn and Brit Morgan dominated the popular Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy during its inaugural season in 2014 and will join Drive DMACK stalwarts Jari Ketomaa and Kaj Lindstrom in Porto next week.

With a huge WRC 2 entry of 30 eager competitors all lining up to contest the first of the traditional series of summer European rounds, both Pärn and Ketomaa will face a huge challenge. However, with the event moving back north after 14 years, the stages will be new to everyone.

The roads around the Porto and Fafe regions in northern Portugal, iconic WRC locations steeped in motorsport heritage, are generally softer and less abrasive than the previous location in the southern Algarve. And those conditions should suit DMACK’s DMG+2 gravel tyres.

DMACK has nominated its soft compound S6 as the main option for next week. Competitors can use a total of 22 tyres over the weekend from an allocation of 22 soft S6 and 16 hard S3 tyres.

The move north to a new base at Matosinhos near Porto will see competitors tackle a mix of fast, sandy tracks alongside some technical roads over a mountain area. The region has a crazy base of motorsport fans and organisers are expecting the stages to be swamped with spectators eager to catch the action.

After a start in Guimares on Thursday night and a 3.36km super-special stage at Lousada, the rally moves north for a three-stage loop near the Spanish border. Saturday includes two passes over the 37.67km Fridao test before Sunday sees the return of the iconic Fafe stage, which is steeped in WRC history.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “Next week’s event is going to be hugely competitive within WRC 2, with one of the biggest fields we’ve seen for quite a while. The new stage conditions should hopefully work in our favour but, with a full field of top drivers, it’s going to be a pretty difficult and competitive rally.”

Jari Ketomaa said: “I loved competing at Fafe sprint last year, the atmosphere was incredible, and I’m really looking forward to tackling these stages next week. Mexico and Argentina were rough, rocky rallies where we had to take care of the car, hopefully next week we can concentrate on having a proper race.”

Sander Pärn said: “This is a huge opportunity and I plan to step up my game to make best use of this great prize with DMACK and M-Sport. This is a completely new situation for me, it’s my first time on gravel with an R5 car so it really will be a big learning experience. The competition looks pretty intense and my aim definitely is to complete all the stages and finish the rally. We are testing today and also on Monday to be ready for the rally.”


Pärn Picks Portugal For DMACK Prize Season
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