Arm­strong, Green­smith and Pryce to DMACK Tro­phy Pho­tos: Kevin Glen­den­ning, Jakob Ebrey, mck­lein-im­age­database.com

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By David Evans

Bri­tish driv­ers Osian Pryce, Jon Arm­strong and Gus Green­smith will lead the chal­lenge for this year’s Drive DMACK Fi­esta Tro­phy.

The fi­nal en­try for this year’s DDFT has yet to be con­firmed, but or­gan­is­ers are ex­pect­ing up to 15 cars to start the open­ing round at Rally Por­tu­gal in May.

All three Bri­tish driv­ers have ex­pe­ri­ence of M-sport-built Ford Fi­esta R2s but only Green­smith has com­peted in Fi­esta R2T be­fore.

M-sport man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mal­colm Wil­son is de­lighted to have three Bri­tish driv­ers up­hold­ing the hon­our of the home na­tions.

He said: “Se­cur­ing three of the UK’S top young tal­ents is fan­tas­tic news for this year’s Drive DMACK Fi­esta Tro­phy. It’s great to see the se­ries go from strength to strength and the cal­i­bre of driver we are able to at­tract. The pre­vi­ous win­ners of our one-make se­ries in­clude Elfyn Evans and Craig Breen, both of whom have gone on to se­cure fac­tory drives, prov­ing how ef­fec­tive the se­ries is as a step­ping stone to ral­ly­ing’s high­est level.”

Pryce started two Ju­nior WRC rounds last sea­son and ran at the front in Por­tu­gal and Poland – only miss­ing a Miko­la­jki win af­ter his DS 3 R3 was plagued by a day two mis­fire. He ad­mits, how­ever, he had no hes­i­ta­tion in step­ping down a class from R3 to R2 for DDFT.

“From an eco­nomic point of view, DDFT makes such good sense,” said Pryce. “Of course, we want to win, but if we don’t win, we come away with good, cost-ef­fec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence of five key world cham­pi­onship rounds and that’s in­valu­able to our ca­reer right now.

“Last year, I was re­ally ap­pre­hen­sive about go­ing to Por­tu­gal and Poland – I just didn’t know what to ex­pect in terms of pace or from the events. We’ve shown a bit of speed now and go­ing to those ral­lies for the se­cond time should be a lit­tle bit more straight­for­ward; we have, for ex­am­ple, got a set of pa­cenotes to work from this year.”

Arm­strong won the Vata­nen Touch Tro­phy award last sea­son, which gained him an en­try into the Drive DMACK shootout. The Kesh young­ster then beat off tough com­pe­ti­tion to win the shootout and a sub­sidised year in the DDT.

“Af­ter win­ning the shootout it’s been a long wait,” said Arm­strong. “We’ll be do­ing a few tests in the one-litre car be­fore the sea­son starts, and this year is all go­ing to be about fin­ish­ing ral­lies. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it.”

In just his fourth sea­son in ral­ly­ing, 19-year-old Green­smith re­turns for a se­cond year in DDFT – and this time he’s ready to fight for the ti­tle.

“The whole aim is on the cham­pi­onship for me this year,” he said. “Ev­ery­thing is geared to­wards fight­ing for the cham­pi­onship. I’ve got Alex [Gel­somino] on­board and that’s mas­sive for me: he has loads of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Arm­strong com­peted in Ire­land last week­end Green­smith (l) is top rookie

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