RALLYE MONTE CARLO REVIEW & THOUGHTS
The iconic ‘Rallye Monte Carlo’ held in the French alps surrounding Monaco & Gap was to be the first Rally of Gus Greensmith’s & Craig Parry’s 2018 season with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team. The pairing would compete in a Ford Fiesta R2T in order to gain experience of the notorious event following advice from M-Sport team principle Malcolm Wilson.
Thursday evening ran without issue, although an incorrect but safe tire choice cost Gus valuable time against the leading French crews in the RC4 class. Carnage ensued throughout Thursday night for many drivers on the tricky icy sections, but Gus drove with a cool & calm head to finish SS2 with no lost time as a consequence of errors.
Friday was much of the same approach. A mistake-free run through 2 loops of 3 stages was imperative for Gus to achieve the aim of gaining experience for coming years. Despite the gentle pace, Gus climbed up the leader board in the torrential downpour during Friday afternoon to end the day in 4th.
Dawn broke on Saturday revealing the extent of which the previous nights heavy snowfall had covered the first stage. Conditions were treacherous but true to the image of Rallye Monte Carlo. This was to be the first time Gus had driven in these conditions, but he was not to disappoint. Gus claimed the opening stage win by over 7 seconds & moved up to 3rd. Gus described the stage “as a buzz” but with “no room for error”.
The elation of SS10 was to be swiftly followed by devastation due to a fuel miscalculation. This led to Gus & Craig to run out of fuel before the start of SS10 & the crew was forced to retire from the event.
Rallye Monte Carlo was viewed as a positive but frustrating event. Gus felt the experience was invaluable for the future & that the hard work he & the team had put in over the winter would pay off during the 2018 season.
Gus’ & Craig’s first WRC2 event will take place at Rally Mexico in March.
“It is no lie that i really wanted to compete Rallye Monte Carlo in a WRC2 car, not an R2. But i am very lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of experience in the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team & i have to respect that all views pointed towards doing the Rally in a slower version of the WRC2 Ford Fiesta.
It felt very strange driving the R2 car during Shakedown on Wednesday evening, but i got use to it quickly & i was still really enjoying myself. Thursday night for almost everyone else was carnage, but not for me. An incorrect tire choice meant we were great on the 800m of ice but the tires quickly over heated on the dry sections. It was the safe choice & the correct choice for a rally when you are only gaining experience.
We took Friday gently with the only aim being to gain full mileage of the event. It was important for me to see how much more the road polluted compared to other tarmac events even though we had no ice or snow & that was obvious to see. Friday evening i had a chat with my Dad & we both agreed to step up the pace for Saturday, which is always a nice thing to hear.
Heavy snowfall made the first stage of Saturday an absolute riot. It was such a buzz, even in an R2T & it was no surprise to see myself win the stage. They’re conditions i really enjoy because there is no room for error.
It was a big shame to retire immediately after the stage, but i did get a glimpse into how unpredictable Rallye Monte Carlo can be. It was a good learning experience but i am more than ready to get back into a WRC2 car & begin testing for Rally Mexico”.