Despite an opening leg puncture which cost more than two minutes, the Briton started Sunday’s finale with a minute’s lead in his Ford Fiesta over Jan Kopecký’s Skoda Fabia.
His weekend almost ended in disaster when he rolled after the flying finish of the penultimate special stage. Despite losing no time, Greensmith faced a battle to repair his car in time to tackle the final speed test.
“I got distracted and completely missed the final corner and rolled into a ditch. Somehow we managed to get out and back on the road, but then we had to improvise some repairs on the road section which included changing a wheel without a jack,” he explained.
The efforts of Greensmith and co-driver Elliott Edmondson paid off as they nursed their battered car through the last stage to defeat Kopecký by 29.4sec.
Punctures earlier in the rally hampered the Czech’s bid to repeat his victory of 12 months ago. He finished more than 27 minutes clear of team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, whose challenge effectively ended on Friday when a series of punctures sidelined the teenage Finn.
There was drama, too, in WRC 2 when leader Kajetan Kajetanowicz broke the front right driveshaft of his Skoda Fabia. He limped through the final two stages with only rear-wheel drive but held on to win, despite his three-minute lead being cut to 1min 39.9sec.
The Pole’s maiden victory propelled him into the joint lead of the championship with the absent Nikolay Gryazin with three rounds remaining.
“We knew it was going to be a very hard rally for everybody and that is why it is amazing to be here. It’s my first win in the WRC and I think this is the hardest rally of the whole season, so my heart is pumping,” he said.
Marco Bulacia finished second with Fabio Andolfi completing the podium almost 10 minutes back after a series of first leg punctures.
Henning Solberg and Burak Çukurova were next up, but Gaurav Gill yielded sixth when the Indian retired his Fiesta with transmission trouble. His demise promoted Brazilian Paulo Nobre into sixth, ensuring a clean sweep of the leading places for the Fabia.