Greensmith labels Solberg’s donut penalty “unpopular”

Gus Greensmith edged Oliver Solberg to the Portugal WRC2 win by just 1.2 seconds after Solberg's one-minute penalty

Gus Greensmith

Gus Greensmith sympathizes with WRC2 rival Oliver Solberg, describing his one-minute penalty for performing donuts at the end of Saturday’s final Rally of Portugal stage as unpopular.

Solberg had led the rally by 35.4 seconds but his penalty promoted Greensmith into a 24.6s lead heading into the final day.

However, late power-steering problems for Greensmith gave Solberg a chance of snatching the victory back. In the end, Greensmith beat Solberg by just 1.2s.

While one side of him was pleased to profit from Solberg’s misfortune, Greensmith also feels for his championship rival even though he says it was ultimately Solberg’s responsibility to understand all the regulations.

“I think for everyone it’s an unpopular penalty,” Greensmith told DirtFish.

“We all want to see involving fans and they love the spectacle, especially here in Portugal, but unfortunately the rules are the rules and it’s the crews and the teams’ job to understand the rules and not break [them].

“I think that’s what it comes down to, but I would agree, it’s a very unpopular penalty.”

Solberg’s former team-mate Thierry Neuville echoed Greensmith’s comments, arguing that the World Rally Championship should be about putting on a show for the fans.

“It’s hard. I have been in that situation before him a couple of times and I have realized that it’s better to play with the deciders. So I stopped it,” Neuville told DirtFish.

“There is a rule, a rule is a rule that is for sure.

“However, I think that, like other championships as well, at the end people want to see a show.

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“We need to… yeah, put up a show people want to follow, people want to see, and donuts like this are fun.

“So yeah, sorry for him but there’s nothing I can do for him.”

Ott Tänak, also a former team-mate of Solberg’s at Hyundai, feels the one-minute penalty was a bit contradictory.

“Obviously there are many things which are going against each other,” he told DirtFish.

“Obviously the first thing is doing donuts in what the FIA said is not a safe environment and obviously 10 seconds before you are going flat out in the same road. And then it’s suddenly unsafe.

“But also the regulation is written that if you do a donut you get a minimum five-minute penalty and then you give one minute, so why do you do regulation if nobody follows them?”

Solberg didn’t wish to specifically comment on a penalty he ultimately accepts, but said he was “really, really proud” of his comeback drive.


“I tried!” Solberg told DirtFish.

“I knew I didn’t have the best tires going into the day, I only had four new [and] the others had six so I knew it was going to be tough. First one this morning I used old tires, I still won the stage but yeah, I tried anyway and putting new tires on really helped.

“But in the end now powerstage I pushed to the very, very, very limit and that took a lot of time but so close, so close.

“I went to bed at 1.30am last night as that’s when the decision came,” he added. “I had to wake up at 5am, so it wasn’t a long night, and then the whole thing today with pushing and keeping concentration and keeping the motivation was not so easy.

“But yeah I’m really, really proud actually to be where I am, yes.”