It isn’t often we see American rally drivers cross the pond to compete in any rally, let alone a round of the WRC. Starting today with a short super-special around Lousada, Portugal 2014 Rally America Super Production Champion Dillon Van Way and his British co-driver Andrew Edwards fired up their M-Sport built Ford Fiesta R2 1.0L along with 9 other teams from around the globe for what is considered the best prize in rallying. Here’s DMACK’s description of the rewards on hand this season.
Widely considered as the most affordable way to experience the FIA World Rally Championship, the Trophy allows competitors to move into the official WRC support series.
Continuing the successful format, competitors will battle behind the wheel of identical Ford Fiesta R2T rally cars built by M-Sport and powered by Ford’s 1.0 EcoBoost turbo-charged engine. They will use DMACK’s latest gravel and asphalt rally tyres, which are well-proven on both surfaces,
While the huge prize of seven events in the WRC 2 championship remains, it has been split up to provide more opportunities for competitors.
The driver accumulating the most points over Portugal and Poland wins two WRC 2 drives. It’s the same situation for Poland and Finland while asphalt aces will be attracted to the pairing of Germany and Spain.
The flexible nature of the Trophy means that organisers expect the next two rounds in Poland and Finland to specifically appeal to drivers from Scandinavia and eastern Europe.
Although considered a rookie in the DMACK Fiesta Trophy, some of you may recall that Dillon and Andrew competed in the NACAM Rally Championship Fiesta Cup last year. Although they lost the prize of a fully paid WRC Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy campaign by just a couple of points, Dillon and Andrew proved their pace which convinced DMACK and M-Sport to give them the opportunity for at least one round in the WRC Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy series.
It will still be a bit of a re-learning curve for the young American as he hasn’t rallied since last November’s Rally Jamaica. On the plus side his driving no longer has to compete with time for studying having just obtained his degree in Architecture this past week before hoping on the plane to the UK. There Van Way did a short 1 day familiarization test and then was off to Portugal for recce. It’s been a whirlwind week for Dillon Van Way, but I can’t think of a better graduation gift than entering a round of the WRC!
On the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy web site Dillon was quoted:
“Starting the first round of the DMACK Fiesta Trophy for me is the realization of a long-time dream. Competing in a WRC event seemed like an unachievable goal and to now have the opportunity is surreal…. I’m looking forward to competing against some of the best up-and-coming drivers in the world. This will also be my first time at a WRC event so I am also excited just to be there and see the sport at the highest level.”
We in the states will all be cheering on Dillon, but also make sure to cheer for our adopted co-driver Alex Gelsomino. He may not be American, but Alex and his wife Rhianon live in Idaho (at least when not traipsing the globe to ride in rally cars) and have both contributed quite a bit to rallying in the states. Alex is best known for co-driving for Ken Block for many years, but as Block moved away from stage rally to RallyCross, Alex has been finding work co-driving and coaching a number of young drivers the past couple of years. This weekend Alex will be sitting alongside British driver Gus Greensmith who is also competing in the WRC Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Most recently Gus and Alex who are also competing in the British Rally Championship DMACK Jr.’s class won their class in the Pirelli Carlisle Rally. The two have obviously gelled well in the car and are considered to be top contenders.
Gus was quoted:
“It will be great to get the DMACK Trophy season underway and apply all the preparation and hard work. I’ve completed a two-day test in Portugal which has got me in the rhythm. Of course I want to achieve a strong result and be right up there, but I know I haven’t left a stone unturned in my preparation. Going flat out down the side of a Portuguese mountain, avoiding rocks the size of my head, really gets the heart racing, so it’s set to be a great week ahead.”
Good luck to both and be sure to follow them on the Facebook and Twitter links below and on http://drivedmackfiestatrophy.com/ !
Dillon Van Way Facebook
Dillon Van Way Twitter
Alex Gelsomino Facebook
Alex Gelsomino Twitter
List of Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy entrants:
Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy seeded entries
101 Bernardo Sousa (Portugal) / Hugo Magalhes (Portugal)
102 Max Vatanen (Finland) / Thierry Salva (France)
103 Osian Pryce (Wales) / Dale Furniss (Wales)
104 Gus Greensmith (England) / Alex Gelsomino (Italy)
106 Jon Armstrong (Northern Ireland) / Noel O’Sullivan (Ireland)
107 Jakub Brzeziński (Poland) / Bartłomiej Boba (Poland)
108 Dillon Van Way (USA) / Andrew Edwards (Wales)
109 Oscar Solberg (Norway) / Patrik Barth (Sweden)
111 Nicolas Ciamin (France) / Thibault de la Haye (France)
112 Karan Patel (Kenya) / Phil Hall (England)