After getting his first proper taste of his new World Rally Championship car last week, Gus Greensmith now fully appreciates why Škoda is so competitive at the moment.
Greensmith has joined forces with Toksport for a WRC2 campaign in 2023 following three seasons in the top category with M-Sport Ford.
His WRC season begins with Rally México in two weeks, but Greensmith made his first competitive start in a Škoda last weekend on Portugal’s Rali Vieira do Minho.
That followed a test with Škoda Motorsport as well as two days in Portugal before the rally where Greensmith finished second.
“I did a test with Škoda Motorsport not last week but the week before, then I had two days in Portugal and then I had Rali Vieria do Minho which turned out to be a snow rally, so that was not much use! But everything else was quite good,” Greensmith told DirtFish.
“The forecast said rain and then when we got there the first two stages on the Saturday morning were full snow and because of the rules of the Portuguese championship, because I was a P1 driver I had to start first and then all the R5s started 50th on the road.
“So I was sweeping snow for two stages and then the gap was too big to catch up for the rest of the day, even though from that point we were getting onto 1.5s/km quicker than everyone.
“The speed was good after that, just a bit of a frustrating morning trying to keep it on the road in the snow.”
Greensmith’s overwhelming feeling though is of positivity after his first few days in his new office.
“The main thing you take from the car is it’s very, very easy to drive,” he said.
“They’ve obviously put a lot of work in, and having a lot of different drivers in the development of it, to create a car that has a very neutral balance.
“It doesn’t give you any surprises in terms of balance changes even if you make quite a big change or if the conditions change so yeah it’s a very, very solid car and I can see why it’s doing so well at the moment.”
Asked if he was able to jump into the Fabia RS Rally2 and feel happy straightaway, Greensmith added: “Yeah, it was easy to get into the car.
“To be honest it took probably a day to then kind of understand it and then the two-day test was where I started to understand what makes the car go quick and then on the rally we were very happy as well.
“We’ll have another two days in México before the start of the rally. I’ve had a good amount of time in the car, or will have had by the time we get to the first stage.”
Greensmith was equally complimentary about his new working environment at Toksport – the first team he’s worked with other than M-Sport.
“Obviously after eight years with M-Sport it feels strange being in another team,” he said.
“Just understanding how they work, they’re an incredibly professional team, very well resourced and to be honest everything they’ve given me so far has been fantastic so yeah, I’m very happy with what Toksport are doing at the moment and also Škoda for the car that they’ve been given me.”