VATANEN TO FOCUS ON DMACK TROPHY
Young Finn chooses World championship over British series in 2016
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.
Vatanen feels best move for his career is to focus on WRC Vatanen may appear on another BRC round