WRC

Rally Australia: Peugeot SS1 summary

Peugeots thrill crowds on Aussie opener. Peugeot 206 WRCs played to thousands of rally fans this evening at the spectacular opening stage to Rally Australia, the 13th round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship. Based at the Langley Park...

Peugeots thrill crowds on Aussie opener.

Peugeot 206 WRCs played to thousands of rally fans this evening at the spectacular opening stage to Rally Australia, the 13th round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship.

Based at the Langley Park venue on the banks of the Swan River in the rally's host city Perth, the twin-track stage is one of the most famous in the entire world championship and yet again, it provided plenty of drama for the enthusiastic spectators. The 206s were as competitive as ever, with Marcus Gronholm setting the second fastest time, less than a second clear of team-mates Richard Burns (third) and Harri Rovanpera (fifth).

However, the real Rally Australia action begins in earnest tomorrow, with seven stages in the country's notoriously slippery forests. Both Grönholm and Burns stand to lose out if the weather stays dry, since their positions as first and second cars on the road will force them to sweep the surface clear of its ball bearing-like gravel, revealing more grippy terrain underneath.

Marcus said: "Of course I'm praying for a bit of rain tomorrow and from the forecast, it actually looks like we might get it. That would pack down the gravel and give me more similar conditions to the later guys - if that happens, then I think we can really fight. If it doesn't, then we'll have a similar battle to New Zealand to overcome the disadvantage."

Richard said: "Rain would help but the car feels as good here as it did in New Zealand and we were really strong there, so I'm optimistic. However, I don't expect any favours from Marcus now that he's champion. I'm sure it'll be a good fight."

Tomorrow's action begins at the Harvey Weir stage at 09h20, and crews will tackle more than 120 competitive kilometres before they can return to thrill the fans in Langley Park in the evening.

-peugeot-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Richard Burns , Harri Rovanpera , Marcus Gronholm