‘Second 2nd In Argentina’
Round 2 of Gus & Craig’s WRC2 championship was to be contested on the rough & rock lined roads of Rally Argentina. The Rally based in the lake side town of Villa Carlos Paz was to be held over 4 gruelling days covering over 350km’s of competitive action.
The streets of Villa Carlos Paz were to host the opening Super-Special Stage of Rally Argentina with a short blast in front of 50’000 spectators which left Gus 3rd after the opening stage.
The Rally Argentina organisers allowed only 1 minute gaps for SS2 during Friday moring which meant hanging dust was likely to be a serious issue. Unsurprisingly, this was to be the case as all crews struggled in the dust as most decided ‘caution to be the better part of valour’. Gus made it through the stage safely losing 4 seconds to Tidemand & moving up to 2nd overall in the process. Gus was less than happy after the opening stage exclaiming “What’s the point of that? I couldn’t see anything; I almost crashed on a slight right down a long straight”.
Worse was to follow as Gus picked up an unknown issue with the steering of his Ford Fiesta R5 whilst fighting for the lead with Tidemand. Gus haemorrhaged time for the remainder of the morning loop which removed Gus from the fight from the lead & was relegated to 3rd overall. Friday afternoon was to run more smoothly without issue, but an absence of testing for Rally Argentina’s notoriously rough roads meant Gus was to fall adrift of the battling Skoda duo. “A more consistent afternoon but I struggled to control the car in the rough sections & I felt that this was where I was losing most time”.
Saturday’s ambition was to close the gap on speed to the Skoda’s & positive steps were made. Gus etched further closer to the Skodas as the day continued whilst maintaining a solid 3rd place. “Today was a much better day in terms of speed. We had to tweak the set up but generally the car felt very good. We still struggle in the rough but everywhere else we seem strong. The small engine upgrade definitely has helped”.
Emotions were to boil over at Skoda during the final day of Rally Argentina as an inter-team battle led to the inevitable demise of 1 of the 2 Skoda drivers; Kalle Rovanpera. This meant Gus was to be promoted to 2nd overall despite losing FWD during the first stage of the morning. “I’m content with 2nd, but today was stressful holding off the cars behind with only RWD, but we’ve done it & it’s another strong haul of points for the championship”.
Gus moved up into 3rd in the World Rally 2 Championship out of 36 drivers so far registered during 2018. Gus’ next Rally will be Rally De Portugal in May.
“Argentina was a positive rally but also problematic. We had a few too many issues during the weekend but I’m sure they will be solved for the future. Other than that, we made some positive steps forward for our ‘comfortable speed’, but we will have a lot to improve on.
We did make a great step forward in the championship moving upto 3rd and I plan to use this momentum moving forward. I feel we did the best we could during the’ long haul’ events, especially in regards to rebuilding my confidence after a disappointing end to 2017. I feel more than capable going back into events I know well & I feel I’m ready to make another step & fight for the win. We’ll have to see how that goes but I have every faith in myself, M-Sport Ford & my team that we can continue to deliver these strong results”.