M-Sport driver Gus Greensmith says the throttle problem that blighted his performance on Saturday afternoon’s Rally Portugal stages is linked to the issues that affected his Fiesta WRC during shakedown on Thursday.
Greensmith outpaced Kalle Rovanperä across Saturday morning and by the end of the afternoon’s first stage he was 22.8 seconds behind the Toyota Yaris WRC in the fight for what, at the time, was sixth place.
But his car then began to repetitively display an alarm and Greensmith dropped 49s on SS13, more than a minute and a half on the following test, and 19.4s on the day-ending 2.05-mile Porto – Foz superspecial.
Explaining the issue, the 24-year-old told DirtFish he managed the problem “as best as I can” but that he was regularly having to back off the throttle completely.
“We halved the gap to Kalle in the morning so the plan was to have a good, strong afternoon,” said Greensmith.
“The first stage was pretty good but then straight after that we got the same warnings that we were suffering with on the first pass of the long stage and also what we had yesterday, but then it became to the point where it was multiple times in a kilometer and basically I had to come off the throttle and the alarm shows and I can’t go back on the throttle until the alarm disappears.
“So that’s happening a lot, you lose a lot of time.”
Asked if the problem was linked to the problem he and M-Sport had encountered on shakedown, which cost him more than two hours, Greensmith said: “Yes, yes it is.”
Greensmith, who moved up to fifth as a result of Rovanperä’s and rally leader Ott Tänak’s retirements then dropped to sixth after being overtaken by team-mate Adrien Fourmaux, said he hoped the problem could be eliminated before Sunday’s stages.
“I like Fafe,” he said. “I’d like to have a good, clean run through there but just maybe the jump’s not quite as exciting as 2019, so yeah it’ll be good.”
He added that despite the issue he was “really happy” with the pace he had shown prior to that alongside co-driver Chris Patterson who linked up with Greensmith for the first time on last month’s Rally Croatia.
“We’re making some really good steps forward, it’s just frustrating this afternoon it was like a good area to kind of focus,” said Greensmith.
“We were trying some new things on the car to learn and we didn’t get the chance so we go again tomorrow and see what we can do.”