Greensmith battles to take fine Junior victory
Pre-event favourite and Drive DMACK Trophy driver Gus Greensmith – with co-driver Alex Gelsomino – rallied to victory on the Mid Wales Stages, but he was pushed hard by a surprise challenger.
Sindre Furuseth took the fight to Greensmith, the 22-year-old Norwegian touted as a rank outsider mainly down to his car, a Renault Twingo R2. The car’s age led people to believe it would be obsolete against the others in the class, the Vauxhall Adam R2, Ford Fiesta R2T and Fiesta R2, but the Norwegian was on the pace from the word go with navigator Goril Undebakke.
Through the tricky night stages, Greensmith drew first blood in Hafren/sweet Lamb as the Norwegian suffered from a misfire, but Furuseth went an incredible 11th quickest overall on SS2 to steal the overnight lead.
Wales Rally GB star Robert Duggan and Mattias Adielsson followed in the Vauxhall Junior Rally Team machines. Both impressed with the new car but Duggan was struggling to find his confidence on the extremely slippery surface. He’s still inexperienced on gravel and is looking forward to the Circuit of Ireland back on asphalt.
Greensmith was a touch downhearted not to be in the lead after the night stages, but a huge push on Sunday morning helped him earn the top spot once again to set up the decider after service. In Hafren/sweet Lamb Greensmith pushed again and was over 13s quicker to cement his advantage. He held on through the last stage to take the win, although he’ll only return for Carlisle before heading back to the Drive DMACK Trophy.
Furuseth held a comfortable second as one of the surprises of the rally in the plucky Twingo, and the youngster is certainly one to watch for the remainder of the year.
Adielsson – the first seeded junior – rounded out the podium spots after a coming-of-age drive. The Swede was struggling in the slippery conditions and with the car in the first part of Sunday morning, but the Swede’s huge smile had returned after “many” set-up changes improved the car – and his feeling in it – to claw back onto the podium.
Duggan was unfortunate as he picked up a puncture in SS5, in a rally he’s hoping to forget. Nevertheless there are points on the board for him, although only fifth after MH Motorsport’s Josh Cornwell and Dai Roberts leapfrogged the Irishman thanks to his puncture. Cornwell is one of the youngest juniors in the field and drove way beyond his years to seal fourth in the Fiesta R2, an underpowered model.
Scot Blair Brown rounded out the top six in his Ford Fiesta R2T with co-driver Richard Simmons.
ROAD RALLY ROUND-UP
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