MARCUS GRONHOLM CRACKS THE WHIP The Rally of Turkey, round seven of the World Rally Championship, got underway this Friday morning with a loop of two special stages totalling 40 kilometres. The rainstorms which had fallen on the previous days...
MARCUS GRONHOLM CRACKS THE WHIP
The Rally of Turkey, round seven of the World Rally Championship, got underway this Friday morning with a loop of two special stages totalling 40 kilometres. The rainstorms which had fallen on the previous days caused patches of mud, which subsequently dried in the warm morning sun. From the start Sebastien Loeb took the lead, leacing behind him a train of three cars which would fight a fierce battle throughout the day : Gigi Galli, Petter Solberg and Peugeot 307 WRC driver Marcus Gronholm. The two following loops of stages, taking in six tests and 108 competitive kilometres were run in uncertain conditions, with threatening rainclouds, and plenty of mud for 10 kilometres of a treacherous SS7. The two Peugeot 307 WRCs nonetheless went on 'dry' tyres which were slightly cut. Despite a big rain shower Marcus Gronholm set two excellent times which allowed him to take the third place previously occupied by Petter Solberg.
Marcus Gronholm: "Today has been OK, but I am a bit disappointed not to be faster. We have tried our best today and had no real mechanical problems, but it does not seem possible for us to fight for the lead here. We are still having a good fight for second place, so now we must just carry on like this and concentrate on getting the maximum points for ourselves and Peugeot. On the last stage before the superspecial I had a small gear selection problem which meant that I had to use the manual shift, and on the superspecial itself I stalled, but apart from that it has not been too bad."
Markko Martin: "Today has not really been fun but we have still come out of it with a car that is intact and no serious mechanical problems. On the last loop of stages this afternoon we had some rain, which made the roads very slippery. Unfortunately the windscreen misted up, but when I tried to put on the demister I accidentally knocked an electrical switch and lost some time. Overall, I've been happy with my tyre choices, so let's wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Jean Pierre Nicolas : "The conclusion from this first day is held back by a difficult first leg, and certain other competitors running on Pirellis were quicker than us. On a slippery surface we still have some work to do, and we have to make progress on the car in order to catch up with our rivals. Marcus was quicker on the second and third loops of stages to end the leg third, 36 seconds off Galli. If he continues this pace, he will certainly be able to finish second on merit. As for Markko, he struggled to get used to the car. He was sixth for a long time, but lost the place after accidentally cutting off the engine whilst trying to de-mist his windscreen. "