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.”