Gus Greensmith – Winner
Gus Greensmith took the maiden victory in the new WRC2Pro series for M-Sport Ford. The victory wasn’t ever in doubt after the only opposition Kalle Rovanpera slid of in his Skoda Fabia on the opening stage. From then on even had Rovanpera won every remaining stage he would have required an equivalent major slip-up from Greensmith. Though victory in WRC2Pro was handed to Gus, the retirements in the elite field on Saturday meant WRC points were up for grabs.
On Friday Greensmith had to overturn a Yoann Bonato lead and fend off a threatening Adrien Fourmaux. By the end of the day he was leading the class albeit narrowly thanks to a stage win on SS7 and some excellent pace on the others. Saturday was Gus’s day and he took 3 class stage wins. With Bonato losing time on SS12, Greensmith had an easy cruise to the WRC2Pro podium on Sunday.
Kalle Rovanpera started his season with a damaging shunt into the back of Teemu Suninen’s stuck Ford Fiesta on the opening stage. The damage prevented Kalle setting a great time on SS2 and by service on Friday night far too much time had been lost. This didn’t stop Kalle from showing what he can do and gaining valuable experience on the Monte roads. On the remaining stages Rovenpera took 5 class stage wins and stayed within 1s/km on all but one – SS9. He stopped in the stage losing two and a half minutes compared to the fastest time. Rovanpera also picked up a one minute time penalty for taking the wrong route on a road section. Kalle showed a fantastic display of pace and ability across the weekend and the issues suffered will be valuable experience.
Yoann Bonato – Winner
Although Yoann Bonato is named as a WRC2Pro driver for Citroen in 2019 he was not entered in Monte. The team bosses may have felt this decision was the wrong one by the end of SS6 Valdrome – Sigottier 2, when he was comfortably in first place of all RC2 class cars. Leading Gus Greensmith by nearly a whole minute, he had only lost 29.4 seconds to stage winning pace so far.
But Bonato’s battle wasn’t with Greensmith. His priority was a win of his own in WRC2. After the threat of De-Mevius and Fourmaux subsided on Friday, Bonato chose to ease up rather than risk the lead he had in WRC2. On Saturday the pace was back as he was in the WRC points to which Sarrazin suddenly became a threat to. He would stay ahead, but it was too late to catch Greensmith.
A win on the opening stage would be his only win as his average classification would be nearly 5th.
Other WRC2 Drivers
Nicolas Ciamin had displays of tremendous pace punctuated by stages of not so great times. The youngster in his first Monte outing in an R5 spec car shows a promising future lies ahead. His opening two stages only lost him 16.8 seconds and he took class wins on all 4 stages on the Sunday. Perhaps he should have been easing off too at this point.
Adrien Formaux is another newcomer to the R5 car although his performance may suggest a more experienced driver. Second only to Bonato in WRC2, he was matching Greensmith for pace before falling away slightly on Friday. Too top off a great weekend he even picked up 1 WRC point for 10th position overall. If Formaux’s intention was to finish the rally and get kilometres in the car rather than pushing, he too will be one to watch.
The Belgian Guillaume de Mevius was having a very good rally up until a crash on SS14. Consistently showing top times he would most likely have finished second in WRC2 and scored WRC points had he finished.
If you enjoyed this you may like to read the Rallye Monte-Carlo WRC Pace Review.
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