DMACK runners scored a double WRC 2 podium this afternoon at Rally Argentina – one of the toughest events in the recent history of the FIA World Rally Championship. Paraguayan pilot Diego Dominguez finished a fabulous second while Drive DMACK’s Jari Ketomaa battled through a troubled three days to take third.
In an event which saw a number of the field succumb to the punishing pampas stages, the result allows Ketomaa to extend his lead at the top of the WRC 2 Drivers Championship while the Drive DMACK squad continues to top the table in its defence of the teams’ title.
The arduous Argentine roads were much tougher than expected with their extreme conditions likened to classic iconic challenges such as the Safari and Acropolis rallies. Heavy rain over the last few months had washed away the soft top surface, resulting in exposed bedrock and huge, sharp stones.
The result was one of the toughest challenges in recent events and DMACK’s gravel tyres, manufactured in partnership with Yongtai in China, had to deal with a diverse and ever-changing range of conditions. Remarkably the DMG+2 tyre coped well, providing crews with the strength and durability to deal with the rough roads and the performance to seal two podium places. DMACK runners used both available compounds, the soft S6 and the hard S3, to deal with the gruelling gravel roads.
Sandy sections were contrasted with hard bedrock, which battered the Ford Fiesta R5 cars driven by both Ketomaa and Drive DMACK team-mate Nicolas Fuchs.
Finns Ketomaa and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom pulled off a fine result after battling through the only South American round of the championship – based in Villa Carlos Paz near Cordoba. They dealt with a number of mechanical issues, including having to complete over 40km without power steering, to come home in third and extend their championship lead.
While Peruvian Fuchs had a number of mechanical issues, and eventually retired on the final stage of the event at El Condor this afternoon, Dominguez put in a fault-free run to storm home in second place.
The action-packed event, characterised by high-speed water splashes and energetic Argentine fans, is steeped in history. The start on Thursday evening saw crews migrate south to San Luis for a 2.68km super special stage lined with thousands of fans.
The real action began on Friday to the north of Carlos Paz and included two tough runs over the 51.99km Agua de Oro to Ascochinga test. Saturday took competitors to La Falda for four stages before the action peaked with two passes over the legendary El Condor mountain stage this afternoon.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “We knew it was going to be a difficult event but the conditions exceeded expectations. Our tyres performed exceptionally well to overcome the challenges and I’m pleased we could help Diego and Jari finish on the podium. Diego drove a great rally while Jari and the Autotek team managed the situation well to overcome a range of problems and ensure we still lead both driver and team championships.”
Jari Ketomaa said: “I have to say this was one of the hardest events I’ve done for a while. The stages were punishing on cars and tyres and it was difficult to get a good feeling. But rallying is all about mastering the situation and we did the best job possible. It was important to get a podium again and the finish means we stretch the lead a little in the championship.”