Dutchman Mats van den Brand has beaten six other hopefuls to become the first-ever winner of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Shoot-Out - securing a prize drive within next year’s FIA World Rally Championship.
The Shoot-Out was created to allow private drivers to compete alongside the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy regulars on individual events – providing an opportunity to gain experience of world rallies and assess their pace against the Trophy contenders.
Van den Brand, 23, was selected as a finalist after his performance on Rallye Deutschland, his WRC debut event, where he finished as second Fiesta. He beat off competition today from fellow countrymen Kevin van Deijne and Timo van der Marel alongside Luxembourg’s Hugo Arellano, Latvia’s Ralfs Sirmacis, Max Vatanen from Finland and Brit Tom Cave.
The two-day assessment at M-Sport’s UK headquarters included physical and media tests before M-Sport driver Ott Tänak scrutinised their driving skills in a Ford Fiesta R2 (above).
“This is an amazing moment for me,” said Mats. “At the beginning of the season I didn’t have a confirmed programme but with the backing of KNAF and Verkooijen Rallysport I was able to drive in Germany and collect the nomination. The hard work has paid off and I must thank both DMACK and M-Sport for giving me this opportunity. I’m so lucky to be in this position.”
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “The success of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy has surpassed our expectations this year and it’s been great to finish off the season with such a deserving winner in Mats. Interest in the 2015 Trophy has already surpassed levels for this year, so we are expecting to have a strong and diverse field of talented competitors next season.”