M-Sport revealed in March that Northern Ireland’s Chris Patterson would replace Elliott Edmondson as Gus Greensmith’s co-driver in the World Rally Championship. Speaking on the Talkative Broadcasting podcast ahead of this weekend’s Rally Croatia, Rich Millener explained why the move was made.
“There were no negative feelings to Elliott,” said M-Sport’s team principal. “Things separated in a sensible, acceptable, and correct way.
“Elliott in terms of doing his job as a co-driver was fantastic but Chris has a bit more experience in terms of how to deal with certain situations outside of the sporting element to give Gus the best opportunity to remain calm during the event.
“I think Gus would be the first to admit that he can be a difficult driver when he is feeling the pressure.
“I think you need someone that has a lot of experience with other difficult drivers. Like Chris has been with a number of drivers who have certainly been very confident, shall I say, and he has dealt with them very well.”
Patterson claimed 12 WRC podiums with Citroen and Ford as Petter Solberg’s navigator between 2010 and ‘12. It is this background that Millener hopes can stabilise Greensmith’s performance over a world rally weekend.
“Like I said, he has sat with some of the most experienced drivers in [Kris] Meeke and Petter [Solberg].
“He has seen it all and been there before. He [doesn’t have] the pressure of doing well at an event or wanting a result is not the same for him as it might be for someone else.
“So I think that removes the tension that you might get if you are two young, up-and-coming talents – you can very easily end up in situations that are very stressful out on the stages.
“Having somebody who is used to that or has experienced it before can always help and that is the reason for this slight change.”
Millener also reiterated that the change was no reflection on Edmondson’s ability who he said had the skill set to compete and return to rallying’s highest level.
M-Sport, who plans to run an upgraded engine on Rally Croatia, will be hoping the change brings Greensmith closer to the WRC’s leading drivers. The English driver finished eighth and ninth on this season’s opening two rounds.
Photo courtesy of M-Sport