WRC

Nine-minute Safari Rally for Gronholm

All the preparation, training and travel came to nought for the World Rally Championship leader Marcus Gronholm at the Safari Rally, as his Peugeot's engine failed after just nine minutes on the first special stage. "It's a very long way to come...

All the preparation, training and travel came to nought for the World Rally Championship leader Marcus Gronholm at the Safari Rally, as his Peugeot's engine failed after just nine minutes on the first special stage.

"It's a very long way to come for this to happen," said Gronholm. "The car was OK to start with, and then, after nine minutes, it was like the master switch had gone off. There was no warning at all and we tried everything to fix it for 20 minutes."

Gronholm had a 14-point lead over Carlos Sainz in the championship entering the event, but he can now expect a shrunken margin in the standings after the final cars cross the finish line in Kenya.

The arduous East African classic, running through the Kenyan countryside, is always expected to exact a heavy toll on the cars, but this year's event is looking to be one of the toughest yet.

Hyundai is so far the worst-hit, with Freddy Loix out on the first stage due to a failed clutch, and Armin Schwartz falling otu on the second, due to an alternator problem. Juha Kankkunen, in the remaining Hyundai, also broke his suspension on SS1, but was able to continue.

Tommi Makinen dominated the first stage in his Subaru, with Tomas Radstrom in second, but Colin McRae clawed back some of the advantage on the second stage to move into second, though still well back of Makinen.

After two stages the leaders are Makinen, McRae (+1:03), Kenneth Eriksson (+2:07), Toni Gardemeister (+2:12) and Harri Rovanpera (+2:26).

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Freddy Loix , Harri Rovanpera , Marcus Gronholm , Juha Kankkunen , Toni Gardemeister