Sat 18 Mar 2023

Greensmith holds steady on abbreviated WRC2 Saturday

Gus Greensmith preserved his lead at the front of the WRC2 pack on a shortened Saturday at Guanajuato Rally México.

The WRC2 competitors waited until the final stage of the morning loop for their day to get fully underway after SS11 was red-flagged following the crash of top-level driver Esapekka Lappi. All crews were redirected to the beginning of SS14 – Las Dunas Super Special 2.

Despite the delayed start, there was some good news for Greensmith as the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 pilot saw his overnight lead extended from 8.5sec to 18.5sec as a result of closest rival Adrien Fourmaux being handed a late-night 10sec time penalty for a late check-in.

The Brit could afford to relax and opted to trial different set-ups on his new car during the afternoon. While the tweaks didn't have the impact he'd hoped for, Greensmith still managed to strengthen his advantage over Fourmaux, ending the day 31.6sec in front going into Sunday's four-stage finale.

Fourmaux goes up on two wheels

With a depleted Rally1 field ahead of him, Greensmith is on track to replicate the sixth-place overall finish he achieved at last year's FORUM8 Rally Japan - his most recent WRC outing.

"It's been okay," he said. "We tried a new set-up and perhaps, in the situation we're in, we didn't really need to try that. It made the afternoon very difficult and I couldn't match the pace I was on yesterday, but we know we can go back to the original set-up tomorrow and the pace will be there again."

Fourmaux held strong in second despite the penalty, his Ford Fiesta Rally2 wedged between Greensmith and the Fabia Rally2 Evo of Emil Lindholm. A two-wheeled moment in the penultimate stage cost him 16.4sec, however, and he reached the final control just 6.0sec clear of Lindholm. 

Oliver Solberg, also driving a Fabia RS Rally2, was on a charge after dropping more than 1min 30sec with a puncture on Friday. The Swede won all five stages, passing an ailing Kajetan Kajetanowicz - who punctured in SS17 - to claim fourth, 41.2sec back from the podium.

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