M-Sport will run three EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5s at this week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal – Gus Greensmith, Pedro Heller and Nil Solans all contesting the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, WRC 2. Here’s what some of our Fiesta R5 crews had to say in the lead-up to the event.
Gus Greensmith said:
“Portugal feels a bit like a second home for me. The scenery is beautiful and I love the Portuguese way of life. The stages are awesome, and this is definitely one of the rallies where I feel most relaxed.
“The route has a good mix of flowing and technical roads, but some can be quite rough – especially on Friday. You need to be able to adapt your driving style quickly, and you can gain a lot of time if you manage to find a good rhythm through the stages.
“Being consistently fast is definitely the biggest challenge to doing well here. We saw last year that people were able to take eight seconds in two stages, and then lose ten in the next one. That’s why it’s so important to find a good rhythm early on and not lose it.
“I’m going to go for it this week. I delivered what I set out to do on the long haul events, but now I want to step it up and try to fight at the very front. More than anything though, I just want to have fun.”
Nil Solans said:
“I’ve contested Rally de Portugal a few times now and it’s an event where I have quite a bit of experience. We competed here last year and the stages will be pretty much the same this year which is good – it’s the first time this season that we don’t have to make all brand-new pacenotes.
“The stages are quite similar to the gravel stages we have in Spain. They can be really tricky in places and – running further down the field – punctures are always a risk as stones get pulled onto the line. It will also be interesting to see what temperatures we have to contend with but, as always, our main goal is to keep improving and keep learning.”