DMACK Drivers Follow Flying Fathers In Kielder

DMACK Drivers Follow Flying Fathers In Kielder

MSA British Rally Championship leader Elfyn Evans and DMACK British Rally Team partner Max Vatanen will both be hoping to follow in the footsteps of their fathers next weekend when they tackle the Pirelli Carlisle Rally.

Both Gwyndaf Evans and Ari Vatanen are past winners of this third round of the series but the reputation of the high-speed gravel roads through Kielder forest in Northumberland means the challenge is high.

Evans, from Dolgellau, and fellow Welsh co-driver Craig Parry took first blood after victory on the opening round at the Mid Wales Stages and were leading on the Circuit of Ireland rally before a mechanical failure forced them into retirement.

With a 20-point championship advantage, they come to the event direct from Rally Argentina and will be gunning for another solid result to consolidate their championship campaign. Evans has competed on the Kielder stages before and knows the high-speed roads through the vast forest complex demand respect.

Vatanen and French co-driver JJ Renucci are tackling the event for the first time so the challenge is even greater. The flying Finn is still getting to grips with his four-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta R5 Evo and aims to get more miles under his belt next weekend while targeting some faster stage times.

The fast gravel stages feature flat-out blasts over blind crests, similar to his home stages in Finland, but Vatanen has been warned about Kielder’s notorious ditches which can suck in anyone that slips just inches off the racing line.

Based in Carlisle, it’s also the home event for the DMACK team. After months of intense development, the tyre company will introduce its new British-made gravel tyres for the first time next weekend. Tailored specifically for R5 cars, the new DMG+2 tyres feature a revised construction and latest compounding technology to give the best possible performance.

After start ramp ceremonies at 12.30pm on Saturday, crews will tackle two stages before a remote service at Hawkhirst. Then it’s two more tests, including a high-speed run through the 13-mile Pundershaw stage, before the overnight halt in Carlisle.

Sunday features just three stages but the final run through Chirdonhead is the longest of the rally at 16.15 miles.

The event is also round three of the DMACK Junior British Rally Championship. Asphalt ace Rob Duggan leads the series after winning in Ireland but he will be chased by Vauxhall Motorsport Junior Rally team-mate Mattias Adielsson and round one winner Gus Greensmith.

DMACK driver Matt Edwards also leads the BRC2 class and will be aiming to stretch his advantage by repeating his storming performance from the first round in Wales.

Elfyn Evans said: “I’m really looking forward to the rally, it’s a fast event where there’s not much margin for error and you need to be pretty precise and clean. Hopefully we can be at the front of the field again with the new gravel tyre that DMACK has introduced. I know they’ve done quite a bit of testing with Ott Tanak so I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements for myself.”

Max Vatanen said: “I’m looking forward to being back on gravel again after the disappointment in Ireland and, having looked through some of the stage videos, they seem very high speed and a little similar to Finland. The recce will again be very important as the roads are narrow with many crests, blind corners and ditches. It will be important to not make any mistakes.”


DMACK Drivers Follow Flying Fathers In Kielder
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