M-SPORT FORD DRIVER GUS GREENSMITH COMES OFF THE BENCH FOR AN INJURED ELFYN EVANS AT NEXT WEEK’S NESTE RALLY FINLAND (1 – 4 AUGUST). THE ENGLISHMAN TALKS TO WRC.COM ABOUT HIS SECOND START IN A FORD FIESTA WORLD RALLY CAR.
Q. You first competed in a Fiesta WRC at Vodafone Rally de Portugal, setting good times and running in seventh place before going off at the end of the last stage. How does it feel to be back in the car?
A. Fantastic. I really felt there was some unfinished business after the first event in Portugal. But before I talk about that I want to say how sorry I am for Elfyn and Scott (Martin). For me, Elfyn’s driving better than ever this year and I have no doubt he would have done a fantastic job for the team in Finland. Nobody ever wants to see somebody catch an injury. It can happen in this sport, but it’s tough for those guys.
Q. How did you find out you were doing Finland in the World Rally Car?
A. I had no idea there was any kind of issue for Elfyn in Shell Helix Rally Estonia. I got a call at 10pm telling me the plan had changed. I wouldn’t be driving the Fiesta R5, I’d be in the World Rally Car instead. I had to be on a plane and out to Finland first thing next morning for a test.
Q. How did the test go?
A. It went well. I picked up from where I left off in Portugal and was able to use some of Teemu’s (Sunninen) settings and work from there. Those guys and the engineers, they’re the ones who have made this the fast car it is, so I’m listening to what they’re saying in terms of set-up and then refining it for myself.
Q. What will be the biggest challenge in Finland?
A. It’s Finland, so it’s always a big and very fast challenge. But I’ve always gone well there and been able to be quick in the R2 and R5 cars. I think the biggest challenge will be working on the notes during and after the recce. I found from Portugal these cars are so quick compared with the R5. When I’m driving the R5, I have a 50-metre distance in my notes. That has to come out for the World Rally Car because a 50 doesn’t really exist. Everything comes so much quicker and that’s going to be the case next week.
Q. What do you think is possible? What’s a good result in Finland?
A. That’s the multi-million-dollar question, isn’t it? Hopefully, I can provide a multi-million-pound answer. The competition is really high on every round, but in Finland it’s so quick. I’ll be happy if I can show the same sort of speed I achieved in Portugal. There’s no way we can just cruise around. We have to push, but keep a little bit of margin when we are pushing. Finland is in at the deep end, let’s see. I’ve been given this opportunity by M-Sport Ford and it’s a real compliment for me when you think of the drivers out there. Now I’ve got to make the most of it.