Last weekend Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov took part in the Rally GB with their new Škoda Fabia R5 evo. Wales' classic race is traditionally considered one of the most difficult in the world championship schedule. The crew didn't enter it as WRC 2 event, focusing on test tasks in its first start in Wales instead.
This year, unpredictable weather of the Rally GB got a powerful boost by way of Hurricane Lorenzo, which hit Europe: it was raining almost constantly on all special stages throughout the whole race. In these difficult conditions, Nikolay and Yaroslav showed good speed, competing with more experienced crews, which didn't start in Wales for the first time.
The SRT crew situation was complicated by the lack of soft tires: they were the best and the safest option in this race, however soft tires were stated as additional (medium tires were the main ones). This means that the competitors could use only 16 soft tires during the whole rally. Despite the risk of punctures, the crew decided to drive the entire distance on soft tires.
At first, while the tires were "fresh", Nikolay managed to attack at special stages, but then, in the second half of Saturday and on Sunday, he had to drive the race on worn tires, which undoubtedly had its impact on the results. Nevertheless, Nikolay and Yaroslav triply showed the time in the top three in the RC2 category on special stages and for some time even held the second position during the race (which they got to after their rivals' problems and mistakes). However, it was impossible to fight more experienced rivals on worn tires. Nikolay and Yaroslav finished their first Wales Rally GB in fifth place in RC2.
"I am generally pleased with the rally, especially since it has become one of the most difficult events in our career. It was certainly the right decision not to score points in the WRC 2, because the British stage is known for its unpredictability, and it is very difficult to show good result when you are here for the first time.
I'm glad that I managed to drive the whole race almost without problems – except for the puncture on the first day. This race gave us a very important driving experience in such difficult weather conditions and on the road surface that we had never faced before: we might have seen something similar in Saaremaa.
We spent most of the race on worn tires, and this is an invaluable experience as well. Now we know how to get through this rally and how the Fabia R5 evo behaves in such conditions on worn tires."
Nikolay and Yaroslav's performance in the WRC 2019 will end up with the start in Rally Spain, which will take place from October 25- 27.
For more info visit https://gryazin.com/