WE CAN WIN IN FIN­LAND Cor­mack be­lieves win is pos­si­ble on one of WRC’S tough­est ral­lies

Motor Sport News - - News - By David Evans Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­

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.

Tanak flew in Poland but was robbed by punc­ture How hard is this to take? Wil­son hopes to help out Tanak How do you get your­self ready for Fin­land? Can you win Fin­land? Tanak still took sec­ond We saw Se­bastien Ogier gave you a lift af­ter the fin­ish, what

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