DMACK PLEDGES FINLAND FIGHTBACK
WE CAN WIN IN FINLAND Cormack believes win is possible on one of WRC’S toughest rallies
DMACK team principal Dick Cormack believes the team will be in contention for victory again on the next World Rally Championship event in Finland, after a puncture robbed Ott Tanak of Rally Poland victory.
Just minutes after seeing his dream destroyed, Cormack told MN: “We’ll dust ourselves off, go to a Tarmac test next week and then the Finland pre-event the week after. We’ll be ready and we’ll start again where we left off here. We won’t be doing anything different in our preparations, we don’t need to: we had this one and it was taken off us. It’s gut-wrenching to be honest. It’s my name on the side of these cars (Dick Cormack, DMACK), but all of these people have worked so hard to put us in the position.
“But, this is the sport we’re in and these things can happen. As I said, we go to Finland and we go for it again.”
DMACK’S Fiesta is run by M-sport and Malcolm Wilson and he said that he would work with Tanak to ensure the Estonian was back in the right frame of mind for Finland, which starts in three weeks’ time.
“It’s my job to make sure he’s got the confidence to get over what’s happened here,” said Wilson, “but I’ve worked with Ott for a long time and I’m sure this won’t be a problem for him. We’ve seen moments like this define a driver’s career, but Ott will move on – just like Andreas [Mikkelsen] did when he missed out on a Sweden win last season.”
Despite missing out on the victory, Wilson pointed to the positives from the Mikolajkibased event.
“Look at the misery around here at finishing second,” said Wilson. “That shows the ambition and determination in DMACK and M-sport. There are an awful lot of positives to take away from here, for the crew, for the tyres and, of course, for the car as well.
“I have never doubted that our car, under the right conditions, could fight right at the very front of the world championship and, against a full field, Tanak did that in Poland.
“Now we’re going to look forward to Finland, where the conditions should favour the DMACKS again [over the Michelins] and Ott has a lot of experience and capability to show speed again. I’ll keep pushing the ship along to make sure Ott and Raigo are right for the next one.”
I’m sorry, did I hear that right? Surely not. Control tyre what? Single supplier who?
This is a joke, right? Convinced I was being set up when I called the commercial side of the World Rally Championship, promoter Oliver Ciesla. Under discussion, decision in a month. It’s official. The world’s gone mad. A control tyre is the last but one thing the World Rally Championship needs right now (the last thing it needs is for the championship leader to be running first on the road for three days – but you knew that anyway…).
I’m astonished this one even got onto the agenda. Since 2011, we’ve effectively had a single tyre supplier in Michelin. But in a stroke of genius from the governing body, the French firm has been given carte blanche to win at will. And that domination has come without anything like the massive investment Pirelli deployed in the three years previously, when it actually was the control tyre supplier. Pirelli Star Driver scheme anybody? Graduates of which include Ott Tanak and Hayden Paddon.
And now, just as we’ve got another tyre company ready to challenge Michelin, this nonsense comes up. Forget it.
Last week’s Rally Poland was one of the most entertaining rounds of the world championship in years and why was that? Because of DMACK’S new tyre. All that emotion, all that intrigue, that fascinating story line that gave us something different would be gone with a control tyre.
As would DMACK. I have no idea whether the Cumbrians would be up for tendering for the job, but I can’t see it appealing. Dick Cormack’s too busy rewriting David and Goliath right now.
And the feeling’s the same in France. There’s no interest from Michelin – the good folk from Clermont Ferrand were among those applauding DMACK the longest and loudest in Mikolajki. Michelin loves and lives for competition. So where’s the appeal? It’s pretty simple… must be: it’s a money move. Presumably, Yokohama or some other manufacturer has talked turkey and WRC Promoter has spied an opportunity. Now, I don’t doubt we could use the investment in the championship, but, in my opinion (not to mention idealistic world), this would smack of selling the family silver.
One of the lame arguments in favour of a single tyre supplier was that it would head-off a tyre war. Really? How fabulously ill-informed some folk can be? So limited are current tyre regulations, mass test and development of tyres is a laughably anachronistic concept. Yes, DMACK cooked a specific cover for Poland, but it paid the price for that in Sardinia. The war’s over, all that’s left is the odd squabble. Tyre companies flexing their financial muscle and pricing rivals out is rubbish.
Pirelli’s Paul Hembery provides both irony and clarity. Would the Italians come back full-time? “Our future in the WRC is linked primarily with the ability of the sport to promote itself…”
Milan remains on the periphery.