British driver Gus Greensmith had an excellent season in the WRC2 category last year at the wheel of a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. In the end, it was a second place, which he describes as a success, but he makes no secret of his ambitions to win the title in the category. He will try to fight for it with the Toksport WRT team this year, and his first rally will be the Rally Kenya.

Gus Greensmith and his navigator Jonas Andersson were preparing for the demanding Kenya Rally in Spain. "We sat in the car in Finland back in January, but now that Kenya is coming up it was really nice to get back in the car and get a feel of the gravel again," says Gus Greensmith.

How do you feel about the test?
I feel very good. We had some excellent passages, we tried a lot of big jumps, beautiful turns, I think it was a very good preparation for Kenya. The car behaves great, so the testing was successful.

With Škoda Motorsport you test a car since the beginning of 2023. Where do you think it has moved forward the most?
The team is working almost constantly to improve the car, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to beat Škoda Motorsport cars in the WRC2 category. For example, we've made a lot of progress recently in the area of

differentials, and I think it's a promising step, especially for the middle part of the season. The development is definitely going in the right direction, the car handles great, is very reliable and overall I can only speak of it in superlatives.

Last season was a success, what are your goals for this year?
We won in Mexico and Portugal, got two second places in Chile and Greece, and we won the Power Stage in Croatia. If it hadn't been for the stone we hit, we would have ended up on the podium in Finland. It was really nice. There were also some less successful moments, such as the Central European Rally was unpredictable. But the final second place in the championship was great, it was a great season. Of course, we wanted to be one step higher, which is our goal for this year.

How do you rate your chances? What will be your strategy?
Last year it was very close, we were competing with Andreas Mikkelsen and Oliver Solberg. Andreas has now moved on, but Oliver has stayed with us as a highly motivated competitor and a teammate at Toksport WRT. Apart from that, there are other competitors, the starting field is very tight again and I think it will be balanced. The important thing will be to adapt to the course of the season, that's actually my tactic.

Kenya awaits you now. What makes this competition unique?
Well, what does not (laughs)! It's definitely the toughest and roughest rally on the calendar, with rocks and mud being the most slippery of the season. It's probably the only rally where we have to consciously slow down and take the car into account in order to bring it to the finish successfully. On top of that, there is a risk in the form of animals that can move across the track. Meeting giraffes, elephants, antelopes, lions, zebras, boars doesn't happen to you just anywhere. It's a particularly adventurous venture at the beginning of the season.

Is there a trick to being fast in Kenya?
Certainly, there is. And in recent years, we have been quite successful. It's important to find a balance between taking care of the car and speed, pushing hard. If you work hard, you can gain a lot of time, especially on the most broken sections. But it can also backfire cruelly. Quickly assessing the level of risk against the potential gain is extremely important here. It doesn't always work out, but when it is right, it's great.

What is the ideal car setup for Kenya?
Because of the need to protect the chassis from rocks and other threats, increased ground clearance is important here. In general, we try to protect the car as much as possible, so we have, for example, an additional frame in the front to protect the car in the event of a collision with animals. We will definitely have a snorkel in case the weather is bad and muddy. Kenya is simply not just about maximum speed itself, the important thing is to be fast, but at the same time to keep it up until the end.

What other events are you still looking forward to this year?
I always like to come back to Portugal, it's my favourite rally. And I'm also excited to go back to Poland this year, I competed there years ago and I know it really is a crazy fast rally. I have good memories of it, so I'm really looking forward to this comeback.