Nikolay Gryazin insists giving up was never an option, despite a damaged front-right tyre dropping him from the lead battle to 60th position among the FIA European Rally Championship contenders on Rally di Roma Capitale this morning.
The Latvia-based Russian emerged as an early contender for victory on the sealed-surface event after winning Friday’s Qualifying Stage. But he dropped out of contention on today’s opening test.

“Just a little stone was on the line and in the high speed it’s difficult to see it on the exit and you just arrive immediately,” said the Rally Liepāja winner at the midday halt in Fiuggi. “It was a little hit on a small stone but it was just enough to make a puncture. It was at the beginning of the stage and after we changed the tyre.”

Despite the setback, Gryazin was quick to turn a negative into a positive.

“We have a big [time] loss but we don’t give up because we have something to work with because our test was not proper and now it’s a good time to find a good set-up for high-grip roads. Our aim now is to check the car although we will try to do something, but two minutes time loss is quite a lot.”

Gryazin also reached the Fiuggi service break after three stages with the front bumper missing from his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

“There was nothing happening with the front bumper but when we drove in the stage at one moment it just fall down and I was also surprised about it,” said Gryazin. “But the bumper is in the trunk and not having it doesn’t affect the handling. It’s all the time in Rome I have bad luck but this was nothing special.”
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