Birthday present: Nikolay Gryazin tried his hand as a test pilot

Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII and VW Polo GTI R5
Birthday present: Nikolay Gryazin tried his hand as a test pilot
Right after the Rally GB, the Russian rally driver tested three different cars in two days.

After fifth place in the RC2 category on the most difficult WRC round, Wales Rally GB, Nikolay Gryazin stayed in the UK for several days and conducted two test sessions. The first one took place on October 7 – on Nikolay's birthday – and was to compare Škoda Fabia R5 evo and VW Polo GTI R5 on gravel.
 Nikolay Gryazin - tests VW Polo GTI R5
After the Rally Nova Gorica, the VW car impressed with its behavior on the tarmac, and Nikolay wanted to try it on gravel, comparing it to Fabia R5 evo. Tests took place on the track of the famous Sweet Lamb complex in rainy conditions, very similar to those in Wales Rally GB.
 Nikolay Gryazin - VW Polo GTI R5

Nikolay Gryazin
Driver
"After the British round of the WRC, we conducted tests on gravel in order to compare, and I can say that VW feels a little easier speaking about the handling. It's easier to drive this car, it's easier to set it sideways, and to drive it quickly right away is not difficult on the whole. Having no experience driving this car on gravel, I could immediately drive it at the result level of our Škoda.
Nikolay Gryazin - tests VW Polo GTI R5
During the tests, we worked with our car too, trying to make it the same in handling. The cars are a bit different, and you cannot say that one is better than the other – they are very similar, we just set up Škoda a little bit longer.
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII and VW Polo GTI R5
An important difference is the different manner of sitting in Škoda and VW. In the first one you feel like a passenger and move with the car on braking and accelerating, and in VW you control the car as if you are in its center, in one place, and therefore sliding and dangerous moments are perceived adequately, very calmly, not scary".
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII and VW Polo GTI R5
During the second day, Nikolay tried his hand as a test pilot of M-Sport, driving the Ford Fiesta MkII, which Hayden Paddon started in Wales with. The test track was rough and not the most difficult, but it gave an opportunity to evaluate the new car.
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII
During the tests various shock absorber options were tested with Fiesta MkII including the ones used in the Wales Rally GB by Paddon and Gus Greensmith. After each run, the M-Sport engineers listened to our driver's opinion with great interest.
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII

Nikolay Gryazin
Driver
"The Fiesta R5 MkII tests were a completely new experience for us: we worked with the factory team and new engineers for the first time, we met new people. We saw a different manner of working with the car and were surprised that it differs from Škoda and VW in terms of transmission.
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII
Peak torque at Fiesta comes earlier, so all gears are shifted earlier too – you need to get used to it. You press the throttle and the car takes off immediately. Therefore, the first thing to do with the car is to set up the engine mapping. It can also be set up on Škoda and VW, but there are great steps in mapping, and Ford has 12 options, and they differ from each other very much. One has to choose the best option for the condition of a particular road.
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII
Fiesta is closer to Polo than to Fabia speaking about weight and handling, it follows the steering wheel – you turn, it turns. But this requires some setting up: it took us some time to get the perfect option without getting into oversteer or understeer. The car has great potential.
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII
Ideally, we should compare these cars on the same track and under the same conditions. Anyway, we had interesting experience, we are satisfied with the fact that all cars behave differently. You can't say that one car is all around better than other cars: each has its own advantages and being a driver I like it very much".
Nikolay Gryazin - tests Ford Fiesta MkII
After completing the test session with M-Sport, Nikolay and his co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov went to the team headquarters, where they talked to its principal Richard Millener, took a tour of the museum and the factory and took part in an hour-long briefing with the engineer, discussing impressions of the car.