Elfyn Evans finishes ninth despite engine penalty | 12 March 2017
DMACK took its first gravel stage victories of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season this weekend, on the debut of its new range of upgraded gravel rally tyres.
Brits Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt used the new DMG+2 tyres to set a string of top times across the tough gravel roads of Rally Guanajuato Mexico, allowing DMACK to once again demonstrate its world-leading performance and set fastest times on three of the 18 special stages.
The more-powerful 2017-specification world rally cars were expected to demand greater tyre durability, especially on gravel, and DMACK ramped up the performance of its new products. First-up was a new innovative construction, improving sidewall stiffness, adding precision and making the tyre more robust.
DMACK also upgraded its hard and soft compounds to deliver both greater endurance and enhanced performance with the use of state-of-the-art compounding and advanced rubber components.
Evans' rally got off to the worst possible start on Wednesday. After pre-event shakedown, the engine in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC expired and had to be changed - he was handed a five-minute time penalty and dropped to last place before the rally had even started.
Rally Mexico kicked off with a day trip to Mexico City's Zocalo Square for two spectator-packed stages and Evans set about clawing the time back. When the real competition started in the mountains above Leon on Friday, he finished second on three stages and scored his first gravel stage win of the season - despite an overheating engine slowing his charge.
Adding two more stage victories on Saturday, Evans and Barritt miraculously climbed to ninth after three full days of action across the high-altitude Mexican roads.
Alongside tyres for top-class WRC cars, DMACK has also developed a totally new range of DMG+22 gravel products dedicated for R5 cars competing in WRC 2. Local hero Benito Guerra used both hard and soft compound tyres on his Fabia R5 over the weekend to score DMACK's first podium of the season in the category.
Hot temperatures mixed with tropical rain showers made conditions, and tyre choices, an even greater challenge. The Rally Mexico route climbed to 2737m and that high altitude meant engines struggled to breathe with power reduced by around 20 per cent.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "It's been a positive weekend and we've again shown that the DMACK tyre can be competitive alongside Michelin. We're really pleased with the performance of the new gravel range and encouraged that we've scored three fastest times on the first gravel event of the season. Elfyn and Dan have again delivered another solid performance in tough conditions."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "Overall I'm pretty happy with the performance this weekend. We've been competitive, scored three fastest times and got valuable mileage during our first time on gravel with this car. It's been a tricky weekend, having to run first on the road, but we've definitely made the most of it and have good confidence for the next gravel rally in Argentina."
Elfyn equals his best result in Sweden | 12 February 2017
The second round of the series at Rally Sweden this weekend saw Elfyn Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt storm home in sixth, equalling their best finish in Sweden, after an extremely positive weekend.
After setting three fastest stage times on the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo last month, Evans and Barritt were on confident form and immediately settled into a strong pace on Friday's full day of opening action around Torsby.
But Evans ran slightly wide on a medium-speed, right corner on stage four and his Ford Fiesta WRC ploughed into a snow bank - smashing a chunk out of the rear wheel in the process. He was forced to limp to the end of the stage and dropped back to 12th place.
However, despite being slowed by running near the front of the field for two days and losing more time today when the engine dropped down on power for an entire stage, the pair mastered the ultra-fast, frozen forest roads, climbing their way back up to sixth place.
Benefitting from a new directional tread pattern, their DMG-ICE2 tyres also made their mark on the event. Armed with 384 metal studs in each tyre, and using upgraded technology which resulted in an unrivalled level of stud retention, they provided incredible grip and traction by biting into the solid ice-covered stages.
The performance was a significant leap forward for DMACK and signalled the firm's intention to target front-running pace on all events and surfaces this season.
Rally Sweden once again saw action cross into Norway and finished this afternoon in Torsby after 17 competitive stages and 300km of action on the ice-packed roads.
Evans holds sixth place in the overall championship standings as the action moves to the high-altitude, gravel stages of Rally Mexico in March.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "In general, we were very happy with the performance of our new DMG-ICE2 tyres and have showed a very competitive pace once again with the new cars when on a level playing field. The stud retention and tyre performance was extremely good all event, however, Elfyn's mistake on Friday meant he lost road position and ended up running behind the narrower world rally cars."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "Overall it's been an encouraging weekend after having limited testing before the rally. Our pace was strong on the first day but unfortunately the mistake dropped us time and also meant we were disadvantaged by running at the front of the field. However, it's another good haul of points, we are sixth in the championship and I'm confident as we head to the more traditional gravel events."
Elfyn joins DMACK In 2017 WRC Campaign | 09 January 2017
British tyre manufacturer DMACK will continue to compete at the pinnacle of world motorsport for the seventh consecutive season, with confirmation that it will contest the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship.
Heading the challenge for the DMACK World Rally Team will be 28-year-old Welshman Elfyn Evans in a 2017-specification Ford Fiesta WRC. Reigning British Rally Champion Evans will be reunited with long-term English co-driver Daniel Barritt - making it a truly British team.
Evans has had a short but successful partnership with DMACK, lifting the 2016 British Rally Championship title after winning five of the seven rounds and taking overall victory at the Bettega Memorial rally last month.
He will be at the wheel of M-Sport's groundbreaking Ford Fiesta WRC and will be nominated as M-Sport's third points scoring driver when the series kicks off with the iconic Rally Monte Carlo. The pair will finalise their preparations with a pre-event test in France on Friday 13 January.
DMACK will also continue its WRC 2 seven-round programme for the winners of last year's Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Champion Osian Pryce from Wales will be joined by Finland's Max Vatanen and Northern Irishman Jon Armstrong - all three sharing the prize drives in an M-Sport Fiesta R5.
The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, which has seen DMACK provide the biggest prize in world rallying to the world's best young talent for the past three years, is set to become the FIA Junior WRC this season.
Comprising six rounds of the WRC, drivers from around the world will compete in identical Fiesta R2T cars run by M-Sport - again battling for the Drive DMACK prize of a full season in WRC 2.
DMACK will compete alongside Michelin as approved WRC tyre manufacturers for the seventh consecutive season. Last year was the firm's most successful season, scoring 30 fastest stage times and leading two rallies outright after an intense 15-month period of technical development.
For 2017, DMACK will continue to supply its DMACK Grippa tyre range with performance upgrades to suit both WRC and WRC 2 competitors. The asphalt tyre has a revised tread pattern, profile and compounds while the successful gravel tyre benefits from performance enhancements including a run-flat construction.
Both the Monte Carlo and Sweden winter tyres have been completely redesigned with new tread patterns and studding systems.
DMACK's 2017 season kicks off with Rally Monte Carlo which blasts away from Casino Square in Monaco on Thursday 19 January.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "Last year was pivotal in DMACK's history - from both a performance and technical development aspect. Our small but extremely focused team has made huge strides forward and we're determined to maintain that progression this season.
"Elfyn has been a great ambassador for DMACK when dominating the British championship and I'm confident his hunger for success will shine through this year."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "I'm really excited to be back driving a WRC car again at an exciting period for the sport with the new generation cars - and I'm thankful to DMACK for the opportunity. I've really enjoyed working with them over the last 12 months and being part of the development of new 2017 products.
"Being away from the top level for a season has been really hard, but it's made me more motivated and determined to make the most of this opportunity."
Isle of Man win rounds off incredible BRC season for Elfyn | 18 September 2016
Elfyn Evans and co-driver Craig Parry won the 138.com Rally Isle of Man this weekend (15/17 September) after a gruelling three-day encounter over the classic Manx Tarmac roads.
A star-studded entry descended upon the legendary island for the 2016 MSA British Rally Championship curtain call. Topping the bill along with newly crowned champions Elfyn and Craig were Citroen World Rally Championship stars Craig Breen and Scott Martin in a Citroen DS3 R5. In addition, local hero and three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins with Darren Garrod sat alongside, driving a DMACK-supported Ford Fiesta R5 .
Elfyn and Craig were once again the class of the field taking the lead on the second stage of the rally, holding their advantage until stage 12 when a drive shaft failure dropped the World Championship stars back into second. Undeterred after a final day tussle with multiple BRC champion Higgins, Elfyn overhauled his DMACK teammate and arrived at the famous TT Grandstand for the Ceremonial Finish with a 5.9 second advantage after over 120 competitive stage miles.
A spectacular super-special stage on Douglas Promenade got things underway. With the Irish Sea as the backdrop, thousands of spectators lined the one-mile stage with crews battling head-to-head with one another on the streets of the Islands capital.
Breen and Martin drew first blood before Elfyn and Craig in their Ford Fiesta R5 stretched their legs on the two other stages on the opening evening to hold a 12.1 second gap over Welsh compatriots Tom Cave and James Morgan (Fiesta R5). Breen and Martin suffered engine woes on the third stage, putting paid to their weekend and denying fans of a heavyweight title bout on the picturesque lanes.
Manxman Mark Higgins picked up the mantle to challenge the newly crowned champions. The local star kept Evans honest and was there to strike if the Red Bull athlete encountered any difficulties. Disaster did strike for Elfyn on stage 12 when his Fiesta R5 went into three-wheel-drive after a driveshaft failed, forcing the champion to limp the Fiesta through the two stages of day two. Higgins stole the march and headed into the final day with 17.5 seconds in hand over his younger rival.
A determined Evans woke up on the final day in an inspired mood and started to chip away at Higgins' lead. The local drivers advantage dipped to just one tenth of a second going into the penultimate stage. Higgins couldn't hold off Evans as the Welshman's momentum saw him inherit the rally lead - stretching out a 5.9 second lead prior to the finish outside the famous TT Grandstand.
Elfyn commented: "It has been a long and tough weekend and it has been challenging throughout. I was still finding out a lot about the car and tyres as we didn't test beforehand so there was a lot of tweaking to get the car perfect. I wanted to try and go for it and build a comfortable lead and then manage that, but then we hit trouble with drive shaft problems, which cost us nearly a minute. The fight was then on and it was a great battle with Mark [Higgins] to try and claw the time back. To do it on stages where he has so much local knowledge was hard as I havenâ€™t been on these roads since 2010!
"To take victory is the icing on the cake for not only me but the whole team. To give them the teams' championship was ultimately the reason for coming here and I was maybe selfish as well as I wanted to take the fight to Mark and win the event. The win tops off a great year in the BRC and a great reward to DMACK and the whole team for their hard work in 2016."
Elfyn wins the 2016 British Rally Championship title | Tue 06 September 2016
Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry were provisionally crowned 2016 MSA British Rally Champions after sealing a commanding victory on a difficult Ulster Rally. The Welsh pair celebrated their fourth overall rally win from five finishes to move into an unbeatable position in the series with one round still remaining.
Elfyn followed in the footsteps of his father Gwyndaf, who won the British Rally Championship exactly 20 years ago. Using DMACK's range of recently launched Tarmac rally tyres, he and Craig finished over a minute ahead of the competition after winning half of the rally's 14 demanding special stages.
Based in Londonderry, the Ulster Rally took in a range of dirty and slippery country rounds and mountain passes. But the mixed and constantly changing weather conditions meant that the road conditions ranged from dry to full wet with gravel and mud making them treacherously slippery.
The complete range of DMACK options from wets, extra soft, soft and medium compound tyres were used across the weekend to tackle the tough stages. However, Evans mastered the conditions better than most and held a slim 4.5 second lead after the opening day's six stages south of Derry.
He and Craig then stepped up the pace in their Autotek-run Ford Fiesta R5 and held a 50-second advantage going into the final loop of three stages. They cruised through the abrasive mountain tests to take a commanding victory and seal a sensational British title for DMACK.
Elfyn Evans said: "It feels really good to win the BRC title in style with one round still remaining but it was a difficult event and hard to concentrate on the job in hand. The rally was really tough, probably the hardest of the season with the weather changing all the time. To win the rally and the championship is very special, especially as it was 20 years since my father was champion."
Glenn Patterson, DMACK British Rally Team manager, said: "Winning the championship is certainly the highlight of a strong season after a number of unbeatable performances from Elfyn and Craig. This rally was difficult, unpredictable and a huge challenge but we made the right choices and the full suite of tyres worked remarkably well. Taking the victory here was certainly a real team effort."