WRC

Rally Mexico: Peugeot preview

PEUGEOT TARGETING POINTS Currently 2nd in the Manufacturers' world championship, Peugeot travels to the third round of the 2005 season in Mexico with the primary objective of harvesting as many points as possible with its two 307 WRCs. This...

PEUGEOT TARGETING POINTS

Currently 2nd in the Manufacturers' world championship, Peugeot travels to the third round of the 2005 season in Mexico with the primary objective of harvesting as many points as possible with its two 307 WRCs. This target is shared by Marcus Gronholm, who is looking to put his misadventure in Sweden behind him as soon as possible, and by Markko Martin, winner of the inaugural Rally Mexico as a WRC qualifier twelve months ago.

The way the first two events of 2005 unfolded and the provisional championship standings reveal more than ever how important it will be to be both consistent and reliable to figure in the hunt for this year's world title. With a record of three points-scoring results from a possible four since the beginning of the year, Peugeot holds second place in the provisional Manufacturers' standings (Gronholm: 5th in Monte Carlo, retired in Sweden. Martin: 4th in Monte Carlo, 2nd in Sweden), while Markko Martin has marked the start of his first season competing in Peugeot's colours by holding the same position in the Drivers' table. On the two events organised to date, the 307 WRC has proved reliable and Marcus Gronholm's retirement in Sweden was the consequence of an off on the third day when the Finn was in 2nd position and fighting to catch the leader.

Rally Mexico was organised as a round of the WRC calendar for the first time in 2004. After the season's two winter classics in Monte Carlo and Sweden, the North American event is the first gravel encounter of the season. Neither too fast nor too slow, it is based in the industrial city of Leon and its stages represent a cocktail of the various challenges drivers stand to face in the course of the championship's other ten loose-surface fixtures.

Markko Martin's win in Mexico in 2004 is evidence of his ability to adapt quickly to new events. The Estonian obviously has positive memories of last year's success, while the organisation of the rally was praised by all the drivers.

"The stages are very varied, with slow and quick portions and no particular surprises to catch you out, and that's a good thing. I think we can do well. It would be great to win a second time but that won't be easy. I still have to accustom myself to the car and tyres which are new for me, especially on the loose. But we are making good progress," said the modest Estonian.

Marcus Gronholm finished 6th last year in Mexico which was the 307 WRC's maiden outing on gravel. "Personally, I will be principally out to score points. I was really affected by my retirement in Sweden and I want to put the incident behind me. I know I can count on the car's reliability and our recent events have been very positive on that front. We have also progressed in terms of performance and a long test session is planned in Europe to fine-tune the set-up. As for the majority of the other drivers, Rally Mexico was new to me last year. It's an interesting event and well organised. I am looking forward to it."

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Series WRC
Drivers Marcus Gronholm , Markko Martin