M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith has set himself the target of a career-best equalling top-five finish on next weekend’s Rally Portugal. The British driver made his World Rally Car debut on the event two years ago with fifth on Rally Turkey 2020 his best result to date.
“It’s [Portugal] the first event I’ve done before in a WRC car,” said Greensmith, “so it’s the first event I can draw experience from.
“You want a car that can generate the grip and find the traction on the first pass, which tends to be quite loose, but then also has the stability on the second pass when the base of the road becomes quite hard and rough.
“I always set myself targets and a top five is realistic. We would have finished fifth in Croatia until the unfortunate technical issue meant we lost time.
“But it was a good step forward and I want to make the same step again in Portugal, particularly following the co-driver change, which was a positive from Croatia.
“But to achieve a top five at this level everything has to be done right and I can’t be making any mistakes, so that’s the focus.
“When I look at this rally, I think more to how I enjoy being behind the wheel rather than how tough the rally actually is.
“It’s pretty cool to come to a country that loves rallying so much and it’s the event of the season that I look forward to the most because of this.”
Greensmith appeared more composed on Croatia Rally, his first event alongside experienced Northern Irish co-driver Chris Patterson, finishing seventh overall after hydraulic issues.
M-Sport fields two Ford Fiesta WRCs in Portugal with Adrien Fourmaux looking to build on an impressive fifth overall in Croatia – the young Frenchman’s top tier debut.
Keeping ambitions in check, team principal Richard Millener is keen to see his drivers focus on finishing the tough gravel rally.
“We know it’s going to be a tough event and breaking into the top five will be a tall order,” admitted Millener. “But as far as Adrien and Gus are concerned, we’re not looking for heroics.
“They have a game plan and it’s clear we want them to progress throughout the rally, and for Adrien to build his confidence given his zero experience of driving a World Rally Car on gravel.
“They have a job to do in getting to the finish, but we’re also hoping for competitive stage times during the event, and they are more than capable of doing that.”
Teemu Suninen and Tom Kristensson will drive Rally2 Fiestas on Rally Portugal which takes place on 20-23 May.
Photos courtesy of M-Sport