Peugeot One-Two in Finland! Peugeot has finished the opening leg of Rally Finland in first and second, with Marcus Gronholm setting five fastest times over today's ten stages. Marcus ends the leg in the overnight lead, 18 seconds ahead of his...
Peugeot One-Two in Finland!
Peugeot has finished the opening leg of Rally Finland in first and second, with Marcus Gronholm setting five fastest times over today's ten stages. Marcus ends the leg in the overnight lead, 18 seconds ahead of his team mate Sebastian Lindholm.
Today's gravel stages were typical of Rally Finland, with massive crests and flowing corners that challenged every driver and car to the limit. The weather remained warm and dry throughout the 119 competitive kilometres run.
Marcus did not get off to the best of starts, explaining that he found it difficult to establish a rhythm and develop confidence with his 307 WRC. However, some minor adjustments at service resulted in Marcus setting the sort of pace that has made him a three-time winner of the Finnish event.
He said: "Today seemed to get better and better. Of course it is still a big battle with Sebastian so I cannot relax at all, and there are many areas where we can still improve. But the main thing is to be in the lead and fighting for victory. I'm very happy for the team: our first and second places underline just how hard everyone has been working."
Sebastian, driving his first rally in the 307 WRC, got to grips with the car straight away thanks to his solid experience of testing it. The local expert had no problems at all throughout the day, and was delighted with his new machine.
He commented: "It's been a perfect start to the rally, and I have to say that I even surprised myself! I was quite confident before the start, but I didn't expect to be this close to the lead straight away. It's good fun to be challenging Marcus, and the car is the best I have ever driven."
Unfortunately, Harri Rovanpera was forced to retire from the lead after SS6. The Finn set an electric pace, racking up four fastest stage times. But he slid wide on a left-hand corner over a fast crest and damaged the rear of his car. Although he made it back to service, the damage was too bad for the team to safely repair.
He said: "I'm bitterly disappointed: this was my rally and everything seemed to be going so well. It was a very stupid thing: a bit too far to the right over the corner and the car went off the road. I had a very good feeling, and I know what might have been possible."
Tomorrow's action consists of eight more classic stages run over the longest day of the rally. The first car has an early start at 0548, before returning to Jyvaskyla for final service at 2109.