M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 press release
Prokop Hungry For Victory As S-WRC Moves To Germany
Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Martin Prokop is looking to keep his hopes of his first Super 2000 World Rally Championship (S-WRC) title alive with a victory at [this] week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
Two Ford Fiesta S2000 crews currently lie in podium positions of the overall S-WRC leader board. However, with Juho Hänninen leading the series by 18 points, it is crucial that the five Ford Fiesta S2000 crews competing for class honours in Germany prevent the Finn from securing his third consecutive S-WRC victory.
Martin Prokop currently leads the way for the Fiesta S2000 crews and lies second overall, 18 points behind Hänninen. Ott Tänak rounds off the top three and lies 13 points behind Prokop. Bernardo Sousa is currently fourth – a mere four points behind Tänak. Frigyes Turán is seventh overall with a total of 31 points and Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah lies eighth with 20 points.
Prokop has already finished on the podium three times this year after securing a win at Rally Mexico, second place in Finland and finishing third in Sardinia. The former J-WRC champion finished runner-up in S-WRC at last year’s Rallye Deutschland and Prokop will be looking to take advantage of his past experience on German soil in order to challenge for a victory.
Next week will be the second time Ott Tänak has contested ADAC Rallye Deutschland – the 23-year-old driver took part in last year’s event where he competed in the P-WRC category. The Estonian has had an impressive season in S-WRC after breaking a record in Sardinia with the best ever finish in an S2000 car and consistently scoring points to hold third in the standings. Tänak is looking to benefit from a pre-event test he has planned on Monday to ensure he is comfortable with his tarmac set-up and ready to push for a podium finish.
Reigning Portuguese Rally Champion Bernardo Sousa secured a debut S-WRC victory in Jordan followed by a second podium in Greece. Sousa currently holds fourth but will be aiming for a podium position on German soil in order for the Madeira-born driver to move back into third of the overall standings.
Frigyes Turán had a difficult start to the season but showed his capabilities behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000 when he secured his first ever podium in Greece. This result was shortly followed by an impressive debut in Finland when the Hungarian driver finished fifth. Turán is now only 18 points off the top five and will be aiming for a strong result at his debut in Germany.
Six-time FIA Middle East Rally Champion (MERC) champion, Nasser Al-Attiyah, returns to the S-WRC next week after electing to skip the previous round in Finland. Al-Attiyah – who is currently leading this year’s MERC after winning Pafos International Rally last month - is yet to score a win in this year’s S-WRC. The Qatari driver managed to secure valuable points in Sardinia and Greece but will be aiming for his first victory in S-WRC at next week’s Rallye Deutschland.
Felix Hebold is the sixth driver to pilot a Fiesta S2000 in Germany but will not be nominated for class honors. The 26-year-old driver will make his second appearance in the WRC next week after having already contested 2007’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Hebold had an impressive start to the season after winning three rallies – the ADAC Viking Rally, ADAC Hessen Rallye Voelsberg and Sachsen Rallye – in a Ford Fiesta S2000. The German driver finished 22nd at the recent IRC GEKO Ypres Rally and will be aiming for a strong finish as he competes on his home turf next week.
Martin Prokop said:
“Juho [Hänninen] is starting to edge away from me in the championship standings so I need to win this rally to still be in with a chance of taking the title. I’ll be testing in the Czech Republic this week which should help as Germany is a very technical event with fast roads. I am familiar with a few of the stages but the weather and tyre choice will be critical during this rally and I just hope that the forecast remains dry for next week.”
Bernardo Sousa said:
“I’ve been in Madeira since Finland because my Grandfather has been unwell so I haven’t had much time to think about Germany. I have tried to do some training but I’ve still got an injury with my leg so I’ve been trying to rest too. I’ve got a test on Monday so hopefully this will allow me to focus before I start the rally. I’m aiming for a top three finish this weekend but as always there are some very tough competitors in this category so it’s not going to be an easy task.”
Ott Tänak said:
“This will be my second time in Germany so, for sure, it will help that I know some of the stages from last year. We’ve also got a test planned for Monday so I hope to find a good set-up for asphalt. Last year’s event was the first asphalt rally that I had competed in and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it – the roads are very fast in some places but you need to concentrate as it can be easy to make a silly mistake. As always, I want to gain as much experience as I can this year but I will be looking to finish on the podium.”
Frigyes Turán said:
"Germany will be the first asphalt rally of the year and I really like driving on this type of road surface. We will try a lot of adjustments to get the most out of the car and we can’t wait to experience its power on asphalt. We like the gravel rallies too but based on our past results, I think we are more successful on asphalt. We must be very careful with the acceleration and the braking but this shouldn’t be a problem with precise pace notes. Our first goal in Germany is to get as many championship points as we can."
Nasser Al-Attiyah said:
“I know I can’t win the S-WRC title this year but I’m still looking for some podium finishes before the year is finished. It’s been a good year rallying for me – I’ve had three wins in the MERC but for some reason I’ve not been so lucky competing in S-WRC. It’ll be my first time competing in Germany although I know some of the stages as I was driving the course car at last year’s event. I’ve got a test on Monday so this should help me get to grips with driving on tarmac although I quite enjoy the road surface – I’ve had some experience on asphalt from other events such as Nurburgring 24 hours which I competed in last year.”
Felix Hebold said:
“This is my home event so obviously I’d like to finish with a good result but I’ve got to be realistic – this is only my second WRC event and some of the drivers I’m up against have had years of experience competing in this championship. I’m looking to have a clear run and to get to the finish and hopefully a good result will follow. I’ve got a test on Monday before the rally so I hope this will help prepare me so that I can use the Shakedown to have some final touches in place. Hopefully I will have some strong support on the stages from home fans too and I can’t wait to get started.”