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Max Vatanen has enjoyed a busy weekend contesting Rallye du Var in the south of France – and he has another very exciting experience to look forward to later this week.

The 24-year-old finished 17th in his class on the asphalt event, which was won by none other than nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb. Conditions were extremely tough because of torrential rain that had fallen in the area and affected the quality of the roads.

Nonetheless, Max kept his head and was able to record a solid finish in 51st overall with his Ford Fiesta R2: similar to the one in which he finished as top rookie in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy this year.

But Max faced one of the biggest challenges of his career on Rallye du Var. As an experiment, he was driving the rally using French pace notes for the first time, partnered by Jacques-Julien Renucci.

“It was quite difficult, because we were using not only a new language but a whole new system of pace notes,” said Max. “There’s a lot of work to do. But it was really great to have somebody of Jacques-Julien’s experience sitting alongside me and it was good to get back in the car again, even though it was not running perfectly: the engine felt down on power. Driving conditions were really difficult, but I see that as a positive thing as it is another opportunity to learn. And it’s especially useful as I will need to perform at my very best later this week, when I take part in a special shoot out organised by the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy at M-Sport in England.”

Max will be pitted against six other contenders, chosen from across the five Drive DMACK Fiesta rounds this year, plus two wildcards. They will undergo physical, mental and media assessments on Wednesday December 3 before their driving skills are scrutinised by M-Sport factory driver Ott Tanak on Thursday, with the winner announced in the afternoon.

The winner will receive a prize drive on one WRC2 round of the 2015 World Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta R5. “It’s a great prize and of course I’m going to be doing my best to try and win it,” said Max. “I know this will be a very competitive couple of days, but it’s also going to be great fun as well.”

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