Vatanen looking to secure top rookie accolade in Spain

Rising rally star Max Vatanen heads in to the upcoming Rally of Spain this weekend looking to secure the accolade of top rookie in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy.

While Vatanen is currently fifth overall in the standings and top rookie, Belgium’s Ghislain de Mevius is his closest rival in sixth place.

The one-make Fiesta series uses identical R2 class cars and tyres so it is a level playing field for the drivers to showcase their tallent.

“I’d say that this season has been one of ups and downs, and in my view probably too many downs compared to the ups,” said Vatanen.

“But I know that I have high expectations of myself, and this is how it has to be if you want to improve. Now my goal is to be the top rookie this year but I know that it won’t be easy. I need to avoid making any mistakes and show the speed we are capable of, in a consistent way.”

The territory that the rally takes place in is familiar to the Vatanen family, with father Ari living in the south of France, the Rally of Spain has always been a family outing in recent years.

“I know a fair amount about the rally and with the preparation we are doing before I feel confident that we’re in good shape,

“Really, this is the closest that world rallying gets to circuit racing: the roads are wide and fast, so you need a clean line and plenty of commitment.”

“The whole year has been an incredibly good learning experience, now we just want to finish it in the most positive way possible, so that we are in a strong position to challenge for the championship next year.”

The event gets underway with a ceremonial start and superspecial in Barcelona on Thursday night, before finishing on Sunday after 17 stages in total.