Ju­nior driv­ers are flock­ing to the Drive DMACK Tro­phy. By Jack Benyon

Motor Sport News - - Drive Dmack Trophy - COM­PAR­I­SON Drive DMACK Tro­phy v JWRC Pho­tos: LAT, mck­lein-im­age­database.com

Ade­bate as old as time it­self. Which cham­pi­onship is the best for ju­nior driv­ers to strut their stuff ? In re­cent years, the Drive DMACK Tro­phy has been pop­u­lar, and its ap­peal con­tin­ues to grow de­spite go­ing up against the WRC’S own Ju­nior cham­pi­onship, JWRC.

So what is the DDT? It’s a sin­gle-make for­mula for the forests. M-sport’s Ford Fi­esta R2T is the car of choice, and here’s the first ma­jor sell­ing point of the cham­pi­onship: M-sport Poland, run by Ma­ciej Woda, takes care of all the cars. It’s a truly ar­rive-and-drive for­mat with the cars looked af­ter by the same peo­ple. No chance for driv­ers to gain an ad­van­tage through bent cars as is ac­cused in other cham­pi­onships.

One driver who has ex­pe­ri­enced the se­ries for the past two years is Tom Cave and the 24-year-old be­lieves that the for­mat en­sures par­ity and takes some­thing off the driver’s plate.

“Ev­ery­thing is a lot more con­trolled with the Drive DMACK,” says Cave. “M-sport is very par­tic­u­lar with the way it op­er­ates the whole cham­pi­onship with the cars and they are looked af­ter to a very high stan­dard. It’s one less thing for the driver to think about.”

Some on­look­ers have pointed to the fact that this takes away from a driver learn­ing the en­gi­neer­ing side of his art, but Ju­nior Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship driver Meirion Evans be­lieves that most of the JWRC driv­ers use teams to pre­pare their cars any­way. And he’s right. There aren’t too many times that a JWRC driver is forced in to chang­ing a gear­box.

“A lot of boys that take part in the JWRC will have a me­chanic on their car any­way,” ex­plains Evans. “It’s rare they will do work them­selves. In my po­si­tion, I can do a lot of the work on the car my­self but I still have a team to help me on the ral­lies.”

Yes, there are draw­backs to ar­rive and drive. First off, driv­ers don’t gain an as­set as they are merely rent­ing the car. There’s also the cost of tyres and re­pairs for the car. How­ever, it isn’t built to be a se­ries where the driv­ers would have a long-term fu­ture stay. This is sim­ply to prove who’s the best, and give them an op­por­tu­nity to grad­u­ate in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship as quickly as pos­si­ble. Af­ter all, if a driver does well he’ll be in a funded WRC2 en­try the year af­ter. Cave reck­ons, as a fi­nan­cial propo­si­tion, the DDT is su­pe­rior to the JWRC.

“It’s def­i­nitely put me on the map in the WRC,” says Cave. “Of course for this year my fo­cus is on the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship but for a young driver to go and es­tab­lish them­selves it’s the cham­pi­onship to go and do purely for the value for money.

“The value for money of the Drive DMACK out­weighed what the JWRC was of­fer­ing at the time I en­tered,” adds Cave. “You’re look­ing at a pro­gramme of around £130,000 to do the whole sea­son in Drive DMACK but do JWRC you were look­ing at to­wards £200,000.

“In terms of what the cham­pi­onship of­fered, it was very good and it was a great way of gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the world cham­pi­onship in a com­pet­i­tive car. I was learn­ing a lot and gain­ing a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

What the JWRC and DDT both of­fer is im­pres­sive prizes cen­tred around cam­paigns in an R5 car in WRC2. How­ever, the DDT is one less round – thus re­duc­ing cost – and, ac­cord­ing to Cave, it of­fers a bet­ter over­all prize.

“It is sim­i­lar to the JWRC in terms of prize,” says Cave. “The car that you drive if you win the prize [Ford Fi­esta R5] is a bet­ter pack­age [than the JWRC’S Citroen DS 3 R5] so you go into the fol­low­ing year know­ing you have the best pack­age to use. On pa­per ev­ery­body knows that at the minute the Fi­esta is more com­pet­i­tive than the Citroen.”

In the DDT, driv­ers will com­pete on five rounds of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship: Por­tu­gal, Poland, Fin­land, Ger­many, and Spain. That’s three gravel, one Tar­mac and one mixed sur­face. A great com­bi­na­tion for de­vel­op­ing tal­ent in a va­ri­ety of con­di­tions.

The cham­pion wins a full year in WRC2, and this is where the scheme be­comes rel­e­vant to the UK. The tyre man­u­fac­turer has de­vel­oped a lad­der lead­ing from the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship, with the Ju­nior Bri­tish Rally cham­pion earn­ing a sub­sidised drive in the DDT for the fol­low­ing year. With that in mind, there’s a di­rect path into the WRC, and with DMACK now run­ning a team in WRC for Ott Tanak, there’s ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that im­press­ing the mar­que while com­pet­ing could even land you a seat at the top of the sport.

The DDT has ben­e­fited in the pre­vi­ous two years thanks to the

Meirion Evans: aim­ing for a fu­ture Tro­phy drive Cave spent two years in the Drive DMACK Tro­phy

JWRC is still pop­u­lar but DMACK has grown in en­try lev­els

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