The final showdown of the 2016 Drive-DMACK Fiesta Trophy was to be held in Spain. The mixed surface event provides a unique challenge of 1 day on gravel & 2 days on tarmac. This challenge highlights a driver’s ability to change his driving style throughout the rally. “Spain is a fantastic rally with some of the best tarmac roads in the world. We’re expecting very wet weather on Friday for the gravel. That could make conditions slippy & very rough” commented Gus.
As predicted, the weather was to play a massive part in Fridays’ stages & Friday did not go as planned as Gus hit a rock on the first stage and bent his steering arm & wishbone leading to a puncture. After making some slight road side repairs, Gus was able to continue onwards. Despite the badly damaged suspension, Gus & new codriver Katrin Becker continued to set some incredible times. Gus was able to maintain 2nd & hold off any attempts from Vatanen or Nordgren whilst maintaining a minute gap to Armstrong.
Day 2 dawned & it became apparent Gus had acknowledged that although not impossible, challenging for a win would be an incredibly hard challenge & therefore decided to push hard in the morning to cut the gap to Armstrong & open the 5 second gap to Vatanen. This is exactly what Gus did & the 1min 5second gap to Armstrong decreased to 50seconds whilst the gap to Vatanen opened up to 30 seconds. After creating a buffer, the team decided a strong result was what was needed after a troubled year. Therefore Gus backed off in the afternoon & allowed the gap to Vatanen to decrease to 24.9 seconds.
It was a simple task for Gus to finish with on the final day of Rally Spain, drive calm & claim a maiden podium of a difficult season. Katrin & Gus drove calmly and judged the gap to Vatanen perfectly to finish 5 seconds ahead & claim their maiden podium of 2016. “I’m happy & also very disappointed to be collecting my maiden podium of 2016. We were capable to fight for the championship & claim wins but it was not to be. Thankfully, I think our speed has done our ability justice. Maybe that’s enough to convince people it’s time to make that step up to WRC2? I don’t know but we’ll have to wait & see” explained Gus.
Overall top 3: