Peugeot Drivers Strong in Sardinia Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have finished the opening leg of the Rally d'Italia-Sardinia in second and sixth places respectively, and are well-poised to move further up the ...
Peugeot Drivers Strong in Sardinia
Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have finished the opening leg of the Rally d'Italia-Sardinia in second and sixth places respectively, and are well-poised to move further up the leaderboard tomorrow.
The inaugural Rally d'Italia-Sardinia is run on soft gravel roads around Olbia, to the north east of the island. Today's action consisted of six stages, split into two loops of three demanding stages. The weather remained dry and warm all day.
Marcus had an excellent run through the stages. posting two fastest times in the afternoon. He started the morning lacking slightly in confidence, but some changes to his car's differential set-up at service meant that Marcus was soon back to his usual attacking form.
"It's not been such a bad day," said Marcus. "We've had no serious problems with the car, and in the afternoon the feeling was quite good. These are not my favourite type of stages - they are too slow and twisty - but I was finally able to find a good rhythm and get the best performance out of my 307 WRC. The pace at the front is very quick, so I will have to continue to push hard tomorrow. But I am quite optimistic about my prospects."
Harri was also not totally confident about the handling of his car in the morning, and he made a few adjustments at service. He lost a few seconds with a brief off-road excursion in the morning, but set a second-fastest time in the afternoon to consolidate a strong points-scoring place in sixth. His Peugeot 307 WRC was generally reliable throughout the day.
"This has been a tough opening day, and very different to the Costa Smeralda Rally in Sardinia which I won last year," he said. "It's sometimes quite difficult to find a good pace on these types of roads, and there are rocks everywhere so it's important to be careful all the time. But I think we had a good balance between speed and safety today, so we will try to do the same again or maybe go a little bit quicker tomorrow."
Tomorrow's action consists of seven more tough gravel stages, making up the longest day of the rally. The first car leaves Parc Ferme in Porto Cervo at 0630 and returns at 2000.