M-Sport press release
Fiesta S2000 Crews Set For Fierce Fight In France
Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Ott Tänak is looking to continue his title charge in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship (S-WRC) by securing his third victory of the season at next week’s penultimate event, Rallye de France Alsace.
Tänak and fellow Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Martin Prokop are currently second and third in the overall S-WRC leaderboard, and with current championship leader Juho Hänninen leading the series by 18 points it is crucial that the five Ford Fiesta S2000 crews competing for class honours in France prevent the Finn from extending his advantage.
Estonia’s Tänak currently leads the way for the Ford Fiesta S2000 crews and lies second overall behind Hänninen. Prokop rounds off the top three only four points behind Tänak. Bernardo Sousa is sitting in joint fifth and Frigyes Turán is sixth, nine points adrift of Sousa. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah lies eighth with 38 points on the board.
Tänak has had an outstanding run in his debut season in the S-WRC. The 23-year-old Estonian has already finished on the podium four times this year, and will be aiming for a fifth at Rallye de France. With only two rounds remaining it is vital that Tänak finishes on the podium again in order to keep his hopes of winning the title alive.
Fellow Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Martin Prokop has also had a strong season in the S-WRC. The former J-WRC champion is one of the most experienced drivers competing in the series and has been battling in the top three for the majority of the season. Power steering problems compromised Prokop’s challenge during last year’s event in France, but the Czech driver will be looking to take advantage of his previous experience on the Alsace roads in order to push for a victory next week.
Reigning Portuguese Rally Champion Bernardo Sousa has had an impressive season in S-WRC and is currently tied fifth in the championship standings after a victory in Jordan and second place at Rally Acropolis. Sousa is only three points adrift of snatching fourth in the standings and the 24-year-old will be aiming for a third podium finish at the Strasbourg-based event in order to move up the standings.
Frigyes Turán will be contesting next week’s Rallye de France Alsace for the first time next week, but the Hungarian driver is hoping to emulate his performance from the first half of the season when he secured two podiums.
Six-time Middle Eastern Rally Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah is one of the most experienced drivers in the S-WRC, but a series of unfortunate incidents has meant the Qatari driver has been left out of the title fight this year. However, fresh from a second place at the Rally of Lebanon at the weekend, Al-Attiyah is looking for a trouble free run in order to try and seal his maiden victory in the S-WRC.
Ott Tänak said:
“As always I want to gain as much experience as I can this year but I will be looking to finish on the podium in France. I competed in last year’s event and even though I wasn’t in the Ford Fiesta S2000 I think that the experience I got on the stages should be able to help. It would be a dream to take a win at France and of course I hope that this can happen but at first I need to start the rally, find a good pace and take things from there.”
Martin Prokop said:
“There’s only two S-WRC rounds left this season but it’s still possible to take the championship title so I am trying to keep focused. We need to try to push in France in order to win, but it’s probably going to be similar to last year and will go down to the final event for the title to be decided. We competed in France last year and had a couple of problems, but when everything was working with the car I enjoyed the stages very much. I think must be very careful with the acceleration and the braking next week but this shouldn’t be a problem with precise pace notes.”
Bernardo Sousa said:
“I’ve been doing a lot of work at the gym since Germany trying to get to full strength and I’m feeling well prepared for France now. I competed in a rally at home last weekend and finished third – it was a good result considering we had a small problem on the opening stage and lost two minutes. It was certainly a good test for France and I'm really looking forward to getting there now. From what I saw last year I think it is a good rally and I hope to be able to fight for a victory.”
Frigyes Turán said:
"After our accident in the Hungarian IRC, MM-Motorsport has been rebuilding the car with great speed so we can continue our programme in the S-WRC. The impact was quite big and my navigator suffered minor concussion, but fortunately he is fine now. We can’t wait to start the French rally. It’s the first event of the season that we took part in last year so it will be good to have some experience of the stages. It’s also an asphalt rally which we like very much. We have changed some of the set-ups of the car and we now feel that we can be more competitive than we were in Germany.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah said:
“It will be my first time in France so I can’t comment on what I think the stages will be like, but I will do my best and as always I will be pushing for a podium. We competed at Rally of Lebanon last weekend where we finished second and it feels great to be leading the Middle Eastern Rally Championship. Lebanon also proved a good test ahead of France as it was an all-tarmac event. I’ve heard that the Alsace roads are similar to Germany – we finished on the podium there last month so hopefully we can achieve a similar result in France.”