Greensmith beaten by penalty-hit team-mate

Nikolay Gryazin won Quattro River Rally Karlovac - a warm-up for Rally Croatia in the WRC

Nikolay Gryazin

Toksport secured its second rally victory in as many days as Nikolay Gryazin beat Rally México WRC2 winner Gus Greensmith to win Croatia’s Quattro River Rally Karlovac.

While half the team was running Sébastien Loeb and Andreas Mikkelsen on the Azores Rally 3500km away, the rest was in Croatia as both Greensmith and Gryazin geared themselves up for the next round of the World Rally Championship.

Running in the same Zagreb region as Rally Croatia, and even using some of the same stages that will feature in three weeks’ time, Gryazin – who set the pace on the Monte Carlo Rally back in January before a penalty promoted Citroën driver Yohan Rossel to first – overcame a penalty this time to beat Greensmith’s similar Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 by 22.8 seconds.

Gryazin was fastest on all but two of the rally’s 12 stages, but didn’t take the lead until SS7 as he was hit with a 10s penalty for a jump-start on SS2 Rastoke.

Greensmith, who was co-driven by former co-driver Chris Patterson with Jonas Andersson away on vacation, won the first stage on Sunday morning but was second fastest to Gryazin for the rest of the rally on his first competitive start in the Škoda on asphalt.

Six-time Slovenian champion Rok Turk completed the podium in his Hyundai i20 N Rally2, albeit over three minutes adrift of the two WRC2 drivers.

Reigning WRC2 Masters champion Mauro Miele was fourth in another Fabia RS Rally2, just 14.7s adrift of Turk.

Elsewhere this weekend, Georg Linnamäe won the first asphalt rally of his career as he topped Belgium’s Rallye des Ardennes in his Hyundai.

M-Sport Ford’s Ott Tänak was also present, running his Puma Rally1 as a course car on the one-day event as extra seat time ahead of his pre Croatia test next week.