Thu 10 Feb 2022

Buoyant Greensmith turns attentions to podium hunt

Gus Greensmith believes a maiden FIA World Rally Championship podium is ‘very realistic’ after bagging his first special stage win at last month’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.

The Briton was one of the standout performers in the French Alps. He steered his hybrid-powered Ford Puma Rally1 to fastest time in Friday afternoon’s second pass through the Guillaumes / Péone / Valberg test.

He eventually finished fifth after conceding several minutes following an engine misfire and a puncture. Before the problems, Greensmith was only 10sec adrift of M-Sport Ford team-mate Craig Breen, who went on to claim third at the finish of the four-day event.

Greensmith heads to Rally Sweden (24 - 27 February) next and added: “The next target is the podium which seems very realistic now, so we will push on for that. We know it’s very early in the season, obviously, but the car has shown it is capable of fighting at the front.

“The podium is next and even [in Monte-Carlo] if we hadn’t had the problems with the engine, we would have been fighting with Craig for a podium. It was a great first round of the season to be at that point already, but we have plenty of opportunities to do more than that.”

Having posted a time 1.4sec faster than Sébastien Ogier in Guillaumes / Péone / Valberg, Greensmith faced an anxious wait on the following road section to see if team-mate and eventual rally winner Sébastien Loeb would deny him fastest time.

“I knew when I was driving through the stage that the time was going to be good because I was thinking that I was not doing any mistakes, not even small mistakes,” Greensmith explained. “My braking was good, so I knew I wasn’t going to be far away.

“When I saw the time over the line, I thought it was a very good time, now let’s see what Séb does. The team was sending me though his split times, 0.3sec and then 2.7sec behind on the splits and then just a trophy. Finally!”

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