Team could run two 2017 WRC cars if it misses M-sport deal

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

Fresh from its best ever World Rally Cham­pi­onship re­sult DMACK is step­ping up its World Rally Cham­pi­onship com­mit­ment and could run Ott Tanak and El­fyn Evans in a two-car team at the fore­front of the se­ries next sea­son.

The Bri­tish tyre firm, which dom­i­nated Rally Poland be­fore Tanak fin­ished sec­ond after a punc­ture, is still hop­ing to se­cure a man­u­fac­turer agree­ment for 2017, but if that doesn’t hap­pen, man­ag­ing direc­tor Dick Cor­mack says it will run its own World Rally Cars.

“We’re chas­ing an agree­ment with M-sport,” said Cor­mack. “The tar­get was next year, but if we can’t man­age that then we’re def­i­nitely look­ing to the fol­low­ing sea­son. If we’re not on the fac­tory cars next year then we will run one or two cars in the whole cham­pi­onship.

“In terms of driv­ers, we re­ally want to keep hold of Ott and El­fyn’s the other guy we want. We think the two of them would make a very strong team.”

Cor­mack ad­mit­ted he might have a fight on his hands to keep both driv­ers, adding: “They are likely to be talk­ing to peo­ple and if we can’t get them then there are oth­ers out there. Not many, mind. We need a driver to come in and show the pace straight away. I don’t think there are many driv­ers quicker than Tanak in the ser­vice park, granted, you might not al­ways get a fin­ish, but he’s very, very fast.

“That’s one of the rea­sons we’re look­ing at two cars. We were run­ning fifth in the cham­pi­onship, but we’ve had a cou­ple of DNFS and we’re down in 10th. If we had two cars, we’re not so re­liant on one al­ways get­ting a re­sult.”

To sup­port that in­creased WRC ef­fort, DMACK is forg­ing ahead with a part­ner­ship with Cooper. If cur­rent plans come off, the two firms would work to­gether on a US$300M (£225 mil­lion) plant de­vel­op­ment in ei­ther Melk­sham or Cum­bria.

“We’re look­ing at fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies for ev­ery­thing right now,” said Cor­mack. “It could be an in­de­pen­dent fa­cil­ity for us in Cum­bria or a joint ven­ture with Cooper. We’re about three months from a de­ci­sion, but a part­ner­ship re­ally makes sense – there’s no con­flict in our prod­ucts and we’d com­ple­ment each other well.”

DMACK re­cently shifted pro­duc­tion of its com­pe­ti­tion tyres out of China and is now us­ing Cooper’s base to make its tyres.

“We’ve got a lot planned for the fu­ture with more in­vest­ment com­ing to the busi­ness,” added Cor­mack.

Cor­mack added that fel­low Cum­brian firm M-sport was the only team he was pur­su­ing to sup­ply tyres at a fac­tory level.

“Pretty much ev­ery­thing we do is with Mal­colm [Wil­son, M-sport team prin­ci­pal],” said Cor­mack. “He’s been re­ally sup­port­ive of what we’ve been do­ing and what we’re look­ing to do in the fu­ture.”

Wil­son’s Cock­er­mouth team will face a race against time to pre­pare 2017-spec­i­fi­ca­tion Ford Fi­esta RS WRCS for Jan­uary’s Monte Carlo Rally.

The Fi­esta is sched­uled to start test­ing next month, with as many of the new parts as pos­si­ble run­ning on a cur­rent car in de­vel­op­ment run­ning.

“It will be a rush,” said Wil­son, “of course it will. But we’re used to that. His­tor­i­cally, we’ve never had a huge lead-time for the de­vel­op­ment of new cars, but they’ve al­ways come out and won.”

Once the new car is ready, Wil­son in­tends to use the full range of driv­ers at his dis­posal with Tanak, Evans, Eric Camilli, Hen­ning Sol­berg and Matthew Wil­son likely to drive. ● M-sport has won the con­tract to sup­ply Ford Fi­esta R2TS to the FFSA’S Ral­lye Je­unes pro­gramme – the first time the scheme has run any­thing other than a French man­u­fac­turer. “We’re quite proud of that,” Wil­son said, “it’s quite a coup for M-sport.”

DMACK after M-sport deal Evans (l) is DMACK BRC man Tanak: close to vic­tory

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