Last weekend, Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov worked their way through a key milestone in their careers, starting at the WRC stage for the first time.
Russian crew's debut fell on the snow and ice rally Sweden, which greeted the competitors with extremely difficult conditions this year. Nikolay had the task to reach finish safely and gain experience for the next season considering complex and unfamiliar race.
The crew had to drive all the way without risking and avoiding any problems. The team used "safe" settings for soft and bumpy roads in order to accomplish this mission. This choice did not provide the car with maximum speed but made it stable and predictable.
On the super special stage that opened the race on Thursday, the crew of SRT team showed the 14th result. On Friday's extended special stages the crew increased speed and completed the 1st day on the 6th position in WRC 2 class.
Next two days the crew continued to adapt to new conditions and gradually speeding up, studying Scandinavian drivers, who weren't competing in Rally Sweden for the 1st time. Nikolay showed time comparable to rivals having the 5th and the 4th results on the first and the second passing, respectively, on a completely new special stage Rammen, which was launched in the opposite direction this year.
Gryazin finished 5th on Saturday and made a great push during the last two special stages on the final day. He did it well on the SS18 but the final one almost ended in a car accident: in one of the first turns the car hit the rock which damaged the front suspension and the wheel. However, the crew safely reached the finish line and didn't lose the 5th position in the WRC 2 standings. They also became the highest ranked Škoda crew in the WRC Rally Sweden.
Nikolay Gryazin: "We like this rally very much: the roads are interesting and difficult here, and the high level of competition sets for the fight and motivates to reach out for the best. We completed the main task for the race thanks to our team. We reached the finish line and showed the result without any risk and technical problems.
The most important is the valuable experience we've got. One start at such rally is worth several races in other series. We certainly still have some work to do and we will carefully analyze the obtained information. Now we are looking forward to the next stage of the World Championship with great optimism. We hope to show good results there too."
The Rally France carried out on roads of Corsica Island, will be Nikolay and Yaroslav's next start in the Championship. The iconic asphalt event will take place from March the 28th to 31st.
Catch more info here: www.nikolay-gryazin.com