Hard Fought Finnish Podium
A massive 18 car entry for round 4 of the WRC2 Championship greeted Gus at the notorious Rally Finland. With Finnish specialist’s filling the entry, this was sure to be a very difficult event for Greensmith & codriver Craig Parry. “The pace of this Rally is going to be incredibly high, so we’ll need to drive fast but also very clever. Whatever the outcome, there is no better feeling than driving flat out in Finland”.
Friday’s action consisted of mostly new stages not previously ran in Rally Finland. This meant a fresh set of pacenotes which had to be carefully made on the recce due to the deceptive nature of the Finnish roads.
It certainly would be a morning to forget for Greensmith & Parry as unresolved damper issues meant the car was unsettled & unpredictable during the morning loop. Despite continuous efforts to make set up changes, no improvement was found & Gus lay in a lowly 8th after SS5. “It’s been a horrible morning. I don’t know what has happened but I cannot control the car. We need to replace every damper & try to start fresh this afternoon”.
The change positively affected the behaviour of the car during Friday afternoon which saw Gus climb 3 places, from 8th to 5th over the 6 afternoon stages. Gus commented “the car felt much better this afternoon. It is a long way from perfect but at least we can improve on this & try to catch the guys ahead”.
Saturday was to be a mammoth day with stages such as Kakaristo, which included sections of the famous Ouninpohja stage. Greensmith improved throughout Saturday to close right up to the top times in the afternoon loop which allowed Gus to move from 5th to 3rd, with help from mistakes made by both Skoda drivers. “A decent morning, but it’s been a much better afternoon. OK, it’s not near the level I’d like us to be at, but this is how it is & we just need to focus on improving more. I’m happy to climb back onto the podium because I’ve had to drive smart but now we need to hold Kalle off tomorrow”.
Despite a horrific morning, Gus & Craig maintained a cool head to hold off Rovenpera’s charge to claim a podium finish. “The car has not been good today. It’s been a real struggle. We did what we had to & the 15 points is good for the championship”.
3rd place helped elevate Gus into 3rd in the Overall World Rally 2 Championship.
Gus Greensmith & Craig Parry’s next event will be Rally Germany in August.
“This definitely has to go down as one of my worse events to date, but sometimes it’s like that. Ok we had set up issues & the 9 week absence for seat time didn’t help, but it still was a below standard performance. We just weren’t quick enough. We will learn from the mistakes made & improve; I have no doubt of that.
I am happy with how I dealt with the event mentally. I drove smart & aimed to maximise my point’s haul & I did just that. After all, points make prizes”.