Gryazin: we drive the Condroz like gravel but on tarmac – so sideways


Nikolay Gryazin came to the Kroon Oil Belgian Rally Championship and the Rally du Condroz Huy to continue his rapid development and to get to grip with, what were meant to be, muddy tarmac roads.

While the weather was unseasonably warm and dry, the Skoda pilot did get to find some mud but moreover, he had his attention diverted to a great fight with Stéphane Lefebvre.

The French pilot in his Citroën had dominated the 2022 Belgian Rally Championship with his vast WRC experience under his belt. But Gryazin also has his fair share of Rally2 experience.

So the fight was on. The pair would trade stage wins and the lead of the rally throughout. Obviously they had to contend with a very rapid Adrian Fernémont who had the lead in the early on.

It was a fight that Gryazin enjoyed.

“The stages are quite fun as we drive like gravel but on tarmac – so sideways. These stages are for brave guys as you sometimes have to turn aggressively at 170km/h. For us it can be very interesting! ”

“It was a good rally for us, with a good fight with Lefebvre. Unfortunately, he had a problem and we just drove to get home in the end.”

Coming to Condroz was the exploration. Typically the roads are very muddy with the fields depositing their cropless tops to the roads, and the rains and cold make it very slippery.

Read about Cedric Cherain’s rally here

It adds to the party atmosphere of Condroz, but this year, things were dry and a little tamer for the crews.

Even if the average speeds in some stages were over 130km/h.

“Everyone had told me I have to come to Condroz to get more time driving in slippery tarmac. Ok, it was what we expected but it was good because it was good emotionally.”

“I like that we have fast drivers that you have to push all the time. We took the short gearbox but we should have had the long one so we gave five or six seconds to Lefebvre.”

After his success at Condroz, there are questions about whether we will see Gryazin in the final round at Spa.

It was originally the plan but things could be a bit tight.

“It is now quite tight at the end of the season. I am wanting the new car to see how it is like, so we will see if we can do Spa or not.”

“But we will do, maybe some French rallies to get ready for WRC2 next year.”

But Gryazin has yet to test out the next generation Skoda Fabia Rally2 saying

“We will get it at the last moment! I hope it is good!”

There is no doubt the car will be good. As we have seen, Gryazin is up for a fight and can produce very rapid results when it all comes together. Naturally he won’t have it his own way.

But for now, he can enjoy his Belgian success…

By Sam Tickell