As the opening round of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy approaches, Ari Vatanen has spoken of his support for the series and its role in shaping the careers of future rally driving stars.
Vatanen, the 1981 world champion, believes it is the perfect place for young drivers to get their first taste of the WRC before making the step up into the official WRC support series.
The one-make Trophy, which uses identical Ford Fiesta R2T rally cars, has been running for two seasons and has already helped seven drivers progress to the Junior WRC and WRC 2 championships.
Trophy graduate Quentin Gilbert went on to seal victory in the 2015 Junior WRC and has kicked off his 2016 campaign in WRC 2. Other graduates include Nil Solans, Sander Parn, Jose Suarez and last year's winner Marius Aasen whose prize this year is a full WRC 2 campaign with the Drive DMACK team.
"Progressing through the ranks of WRC is all about getting experience of the stages and rallies as early as possible. The Trophy is the best and most affordable way to achieve that, with close competition and a WRC 2 prize for the winner making it even more attractive," said Vatanen.
"For young drivers wanting to try WRC for the first time with a focus on getting experience and moving forward through the official support championships, then the Trophy is certainly the way forward."
The 2016 Trophy kicks off with Vodafone Rally de Portugal in May and is contested over five European rounds of the WRC.
More information for competitors is available at www.drivedmack.com