Marcus targets Argentina victory The Peugeots of Marcus Gronholm and Richard Burns have finished day two of the Argentina Rally in second and fourth places respectively. Harri Rovanpera's 206 WRC lies fifth overnight, completing Peugeot's...
Marcus targets Argentina victory
The Peugeots of Marcus Gronholm and Richard Burns have finished day two of the Argentina Rally in second and fourth places respectively. Harri Rovanpera's 206 WRC lies fifth overnight, completing Peugeot's assault on round five of the World Rally Championship.
Today's action got off to a late start after the opening two stages were cancelled for reasons of spectator safety. This led to extensive delays, and as a result today's final two stages have been postponed until tomorrow morning.
Conditions on the five stages that were run today were once more dry, rough and rocky. Marcus started the day sixth, having lost the lead and nearly two minutes after hitting a rock yesterday. But a brilliant recovery drive moved him up to second place overnight, after leader Carlos Sainz picked up a minute's penalty for arriving early at the penultimate service halt. Marcus's Peugeot was completely reliable today, apart from a minor differential oil leak during the middle loop of stages. He now lies just 15 seconds behind the new leader, Ford's Markko Martin
Marcus said: "It was frustrating to lose so many stages today, as we needed every kilometre. But we have some more stages tomorrow to continue our attack. I don't know if it is possible to win but I am certainly going to try. The car has been perfect today, and I've been pushing hard. I'm happy to be in a podium position already, but let's see if we can do even better tomorrow."
Richard also enjoyed complete reliability today, although he felt that his car was bouncing a lot through the ruts. The World Championship leader commented that he was happy with his driving, but not entirely pleased with his stage times. However, Richard is just three seconds behind third-placed Carlos Sainz and the Englishman is determined to close the gap tomorrow.
"I've been driving as well as I've ever done, but for some reason that doesn't really show in the stage times," said Richard. "The car has been reliable today, but it's a pity that the cancelled stages robbed us of the opportunity to make up more time. We're in a good position though and I'm looking forward to another big push tomorrow."
Harri Rovanpera was hampered by a bent steering rack in the middle loop of stages, but it was fixed at service. Harri ran without problems for the rest of the day.
"Today has not been such an easy day," he said. "This morning was very boring with all the cancelled stages, then we had the steering problem in the afternoon. But now the car feels good and we will keep going at this pace tomorrow."
Peugeot Sport team principal Corrado Provera commented: "This rally has been full of surprises but I don't take back my comments earlier. I still think the problems we have seen on this event are unforgivable ^Ö both with the stage timing yesterday, and the fact that certain cars had to run through stages today which were subsequently stopped. Both these things disadvantaged our drivers. However, I am very happy that two more stages have been added tomorrow because every single team is here to compete. Finally, I'd like to say how genuinely sorry I feel for Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti, who were doing such a fantastic job and making our life so difficult."
Tomorrow's revised itinerary will see cars leave Parc Ferme in Villa Carlos Paz at 0635. The crews will then complete two stages that were not run today, followed by the three stages that were originally scheduled for the final leg. The winner is expected on the podium back in Villa Carlos Paz at 1439.