Serious Sardinia Provides Gruelling Gravel Action

Serious Sardinia Provides Gruelling Gravel Action

After a successful launch of its upgraded gravel tyres in Portugal, the DMACK World Rally Team heads to round six of the FIA World Rally Championship next week to tackle some of the most abrasive stages in the series. Rally Italia Sardegna features many of the season's rockiest roads and toughest conditions, which will offer a stern test for DMACK's new hard compound rally tyres.

Last time out in Portugal Estonians Ott Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder set the stages alight on the competitive debut of DMACK's new British-built rally tyres. The performance improvements allowed the pair to compete with the top crews and push for overall stage times. However, a cruel twist of luck saw them crash out on the opening day, unable to continue after damaging their Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Tänak will be keen to restart where he left off and get to grips with the arduous gravel tracks across the north of the Mediterranean island. The abrasive bedrock punishes tyres and it will be the toughest test yet for the new GH21 hard compound, which WRC cars will use next week.

The Drive DMACK Trophy Team will again field Norwegians Marius Aasen and Veronica Engan, winners of last year's Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. The pair scored a super podium on their gravel debut in a Fiesta R5 in Portugal and will be aiming to both gain experience and repeat the result in Sardinia.

Joining them, and driving with DMACK for the first time, is Karl Kruuda from Estonia. A leading competitor in WRC 2 in the past, Kruuda and co-driver Martin Järveoja will be tasked with demonstrating the performance of DMACK's products designed specifically for R5 machines.

Kruuda will compete in Sardinia, Poland and Finland before Sander Pärn rejoins the team for two events later in the season.

Aasen and Kruuda will primarily use the DMG+2 tyre in hard GH42 compound and are allowed a maximum of 30 tyres over the weekend.

Known for its harsh surfaces, boasting some of the championship’s most abrasive roads, the rally is both fast and furious. The stages are traditionally narrow and lined with bushes, trees and rocks – but also pretty high speed.

Once again based on the west coastal resort of Alghero, the sundrenched gravel roads across Sardinia become rutted and expose sharp rocks on the second pass. In addition to durability, DMACK’s products must also possess significant puncture resistance to cope with the gruelling conditions and high summer temperatures.

After a 2km blast around the Ittiri Arena stage on Thursday evening, Friday’s action features two runs over a four-stage loop to the east of Alghero.

Saturday boasts the toughest day of action with 177km contested over two passes of a three-stage loop. Within each loop is a remote tyre fitting zone where crews can bolt on new tyres to cover the remaining distance.

Sunday finishes with four stages north of Alghero including the Sassari – Argentiera power stage.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “Sardinia offers a really unique mix of abrasive roads and soft stages – both creating different challenges for our tyres. The high distances, especially on Saturday, will force drivers to think about how they manage their tyre allocation and we are keen to see how our new hard compound tyres perform on this tough event. Karl is a great addition to the squad and I’m confident he can help showcase our products in WRC 2.”

Ott Tänak said: “This rally is always a big challenge with the high temperatures and rough, narrow roads – but I do really enjoy the event. The roads are usually the hardest in the whole season for tyres. We made a big step forward in Portugal and I’m really motivated going to Sardinia – hopefully we will be bale to fight again at the front.”

Marius Aasen said: “We had a really good rally in Portugal, both with the third place result but also gaining experience in the R5 car – it was a good event for my confidence. Sardinia will be much harder as I’ve not competed here before but it’s a tough rally and we need to aim to make it to the finish.”

Karl Kruuda said: “Sardinia has always been one of my favourite events and it’s good for us that we have some shorter stages on Friday to help get back into it. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been in a Fiesta but this is a great opportunity and I’m working hard now to make the most of it. Ott’s speed in Portugal shows the new tyres are good and we will try to prove this also in WRC 2.”


Serious Sardinia Provides Gruelling Gravel Action
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