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Parn Extends DMACK Fiesta Lead With Terrific Treble
Posted by: newsla on Aug 03, 2014 - 04:12 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Parn Extends DMACK Fiesta Lead With Terrific Treble


Estonia’s Sander Pärn strengthened his grip at the top of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy standings after an impressive victory at this weekend’s Neste Oil Rally Finland saw him score a hat-trick of wins from the first three rounds.

 

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Twenty-two-year-old Pärn and British co-driver James Morgan delivered a mistake-free drive over four days of high-speed rallying on some of the fastest gravel roads in the championship. Their blistering pace enabled them to finish ahead of the more powerful R3 cars as they blasted their M-Sport-prepared and GEM Fuel-powered Ford Fiesta R2 to an incredible 16th position overall. The pair finished two minutes ahead of Quentin Gilbert and Renaud Jamoul to extend their lead at the top of the trophy standings to 37 points.

Frenchman Gilbert put his disappointing start to the season, where he failed to finish the first two events, behind as he claimed the second step of the podium – moving up from an early seventh position on the first day. He also scored a number of crucial additional points after claiming eight stage wins and moves from 12th to fifth in the overall standings.

Norwegians Marius Aasen and Marlene Engan were on track for third after a solid and consistent performance throughout the weekend but, in a dramatic last-stage twist, their car lost fuel pressure and ground to a halt. Yeray Lemes and Rogelio Penate were elevated to third and remain third in the trophy standings.

Local hero Max Vatanen used his home advantage to take an early lead when the event, one of the highlights of the season, burst into life on Thursday afternoon. He set the early pace through the opening 23.44km Lankamaa stage – putting the advice from his 1981 world rally champion father Ari Vatanen to good use to hold the day one overnight lead by just 7.9 seconds. But he struggled to find a rhythm on the following days and slowly slipped down the order.

Britons Tom Cave and Craig Parry were the day two overnight leaders and another of the seven different crews to score a stage victory. They had been locked in a battle with Pärn but were sidelined on stage 20 with broken front suspension.

It was a difficult rally for Ghislain de Mevius, Nil Solans and Szymon Kornicki but all three managed to build on their lack of Finnish experience and score decent championship points. However, for Jose Suarez it was another rally to forget. The Spaniard rolled off the road on Saturday and was unable to complete the event.

He was joined on the retirement list by Nicolas Amiouni, whose car was also badly damaged after going off the road. But the unluckiest driver was Leo Urlichich who was unable to make the start after his co-driver Darren Garrod sustained a back injury on the pre-rally test on Thursday morning.

The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy moves to Tarmac where the tricky stages of Rally Deutschland later this month will offer the chance for the asphalt aces Yeray Lemes and Quentin Gilbert to shine.

Final Classification
1. Sander Pärn / James Morgan 3h 30m 13.0s
2. Quentin Gilbert / Renaud Jamoul 3h 32m 13.4s
3. Yeray Lemes / Rogelio Penãte 3h 35m 35.9s
4. Max Vatanen / Mikko Lukka 3h 38m 00.8s
5. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 3h 44m 36.0s
6. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibanez 3h 46m 01.3s
7. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 3h 48m 45.4s
8. Szymon Kornicki / Przemyslaw Mazur 4h 02m 42.6s

Trophy Classification After Round 3
1. Sander Pärn / James Morgan 90
2. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 53
3. Yeray Lemes / Rogelio Penate 48
4. Max Vatanen / Mikko Lukka 29
5. Quentin Gilbert / Renaud Jamoul 28
6. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 25
7. Szymon Kornicki / Przemyslaw Mazur 22
8. José Suárez / Borja Rozada 19
9. Marius Aasen / Marlene Engan 15
10. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibanez 14
11. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 8
12. Leo Urlichich / Darren Garrod 4

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “Sander has really driven a clever rally here and managed the event well from start to finish. The conditions were tough on the cars, especially on second pass, and Rally Finland really lived up to its reputation again. It’s been another competitive round with a mix of drivers topping the time-sheets but Sander has excelled and his pace was evident with a superb overall finish.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport Managing Director, said: “Congratulations to Sander on another superbly controlled victory – he drove an intelligent rally this weekend. The stages are so unforgiving and a driver really needs to find his confidence before he finds the limits. It was also fantastic to see Quentin coming back so strongly after a couple of disappointing events and we’ve seen a great showing from Tom – another young Brit following in Elfyn Evan’s footsteps. Sander’s 16th place overall was impressive. Beating all of the R3 competitors, his performance has proved that a talented driver can really showcase themselves using the performance and reliability of the Ford Fiesta R2.”

Finishing Driver Quotes

Sander Pärn: “I am really happy to have pulled off the hat-trick here in Finland. The season has been amazing for me so far. I have a comfortable lead going into the next race but it is not over yet. I obviously want to win the Trophy but there are still challenges ahead. Overall I have driven with good speed and fought when I needed to. I look forward to Germany and the chance to do it again.”

Quentin Gilbert: “Before the start I wanted to win and I knew it was a possibility. I had to push the car hard after the puncture on the first day and having moved from seventh to second is incredible. I am very happy with our result. I took maximum pleasure from driving these famous roads and look forward to Germany where driving on Tarmac will suit me.”

Yeray Lemes: “Finished third is a good feeling. We drove with confidence and just tried to make as few mistakes as possible. We suffered a few problems and the engine felt a little down on power towards the end so I am unsure of the problem. I am eager to get to Germany and show my skills on the Tarmac.”

Max Vatanen: “On the first day I was feeling so confident and my position at the end of the day showed that. I had a moment on the second stage and it really knocked my confidence. I am still learning but I am still not happy with my final placing. It has been great driving my home country rally and seeing all the spectators cheering on the drivers.”

Ghislain de Mevius: “This has been the most difficult rally I have ever driven and I am happy to have just finished. I am happy to have closed the gap a little, but it’s a big gap so I will need to work harder in the next round to shorten it even further. I am happy for the experience but have lacked confidence after Poland. I will feel more at ease on Tarmac and hope for a better result in Germany.”

Nil Solans: “As it’s my second time here, I wanted to drive an intelligent race, knowing that if you push too hard in Finland you can really suffer. I did actually push hard on one stage, we were at a good pace, and then suffered a puncture. From then on I drove to get to the finish as the conditions were very difficult, especially on the second pass.”

Tom Cave: “I have had a positive last day and it felt good to find a rhythm again after the events of yesterday. We were trying to balance between driving risk-free and claiming as many stage wins as possible to get the extra points. It’s been a great rally – tough but good. We just need to stay focused for Germany and the more familiar Tarmac surface won’t cause any worries.”

Szymon Kornicki: “I have been better on this rally. It’s been a very difficult event and I didn’t quite expect it to be so but we finished and that was the main aim. I have only driven 14 gravel races so I feel I am allowed to go a bit slower. I have never driven the German rally, but Tarmac is very familiar. The tyres will be another uncertainty I need to address.”


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