DMACK TO STEP UP WRC PLANS
Team could run two 2017 WRC cars if it misses M-sport deal
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.”