Young Finn chooses World cham­pi­onship over Bri­tish series in 2016

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon

Max Vata­nen will forego the rest of his Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship cam­paign in favour of fo­cus­ing on the Drive DMACK Fi­esta Tro­phy this year.

The Finn has com­peted in the open­ing three rounds of the BRC for the DMACK Bri­tish Rally Team as El­fyn Evans’ team-mate, af­ter a best fin­ish of 10th on the last round, the Pirelli Carlisle.

The 25-year-old hasn’t ruled out a re­turn to the series later in the year, but for now Vata­nen­will stick with the WRC and se­cur­ing one of the prize out­ings in an R5 the DDFT of­fers.

“Even though we had a lot of is­sues in Por­tu­gal we still man­aged to fin­ish sec­ond,” said Vata­nen. “The R2 is less in­ter­est­ing to drive than the R5 in the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship but what you can win out of it is more in­ter­est­ing, for me there’s more op­por­tu­nity for the fu­ture [in the DDFT].

“It’s bet­ter to con­cen­trate on that than on too many things, rather than jump from the four-wheel drive to the two-wheel drive. I think it’s a wise de­ci­sion although of course I’d like to be driv­ing the R5.”

Vata­nen sits 19th in the stand­ings af­ter a crash in Mid Wales – de­spite set­ting a sec­ond fastest stage time – and a faulty oil pres­sure sen­sor ruled him out of the Cir­cuit of Ire­land. He be­lieves that although it would have been harder to change fo­cus to the DDFT if he’d been a fron­trun­ner in the BRC, it’s still the right de­ci­sion.

“It would be dif­fer­ent if we were there in the front it would have made the de­ci­sion harder,” he added. “Even if it had gone well though, it doesn’t guar­an­tee me any­thing. Of course it’s good ex­pe­ri­ence but noth­ing will say I have a seat the year af­ter [in the BRC] and only the DMACK Tro­phy can se­cure a drive next year. Now I’ve had a taste of R5 and how it is, it gives you even more mo­ti­va­tion to do well and se­cure some rounds next year.

“For the mo­ment we have Poland and then Fin­land just around the cor­ner, and they are quite de­ci­sive in the tro­phy. Let’s get those ral­lies out of the way first and then af­ter that maybe do a round of the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship, of course I’ll be the first to jump into that.”

The de­ci­sion comes in the midst of a shake-up at DMACK. The tyre firm is re-eval­u­at­ing its role in the BRC af­ter it threat­ened a pull-out thanks to ‘bo­gey-gate’ in Carlisle, where the no­tional time was given on three of the event’s stages.

“We’ll take one car to the Scot­tish [for El­fyn Evans],” said DMACK man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dick Cor­mack. “It’s pos­si­ble Max might do an­other round later in the year but, to be hon­est, we’re think­ing through our BRC com­mit­ment right now and it’s pos­si­ble we might only run one car for the rest of the sea­son.”

Evans is en­tered on the next two rounds of the BRC; the RSAC Scot­tish and the Nicky Grist Stages.

Photos: Jakob Ebrey

Vata­nen feels best move for his ca­reer is to fo­cus on WRC Vata­nen may ap­pear on an­other BRC round

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