Difficult Day For Peugeot
Marcus Gronholm is the sole remaining 307 WRC at the end of leg two of the Rally d'Italia-Sardinia. The Finn returns to Parc Ferme in 15th place after a disappointing day for the Peugeot team.
The second leg of the Rally d'Italia-Sardinia took in seven gravel special stages, including a live televised stage. Conditions were once more dry and hot all day.
Marcus started off challenging for victory in a strong second place, but his inspired drive suffered a major setback when his turbo failed on SS9. Deprived of boost, Marcus dropped more than 20 minutes as he tried to fix the problem and limp out of the stage. He dropped further time in penalties, but demonstrated his fighting spirit by setting a fastest stage time on SS11 once his Peugeot was back to full health.
"It was very disappointing as we could have been challenging at the front," said Marcus. "About five kilometres into the stage the turbo failed, but although we tried to fix the problem there was nothing we could do. We were very slow and dropped a lot of time, but we will keep on going and try to score some manufacturer points. If there is one positive thing we can take away, it is that the car has the speed to challenge for wins when everything is working properly."
His team mate Harri Rovanpera was no luckier. Harri started the day in a solid sixth place, with high hopes of moving up the leaderboard. But his hopes were dashed when he developed a transmission problem on SS9 which ultimately led to retirement.
"From the start of the stage I had gear selection problems, and then we lost first, second and eventually third gears. Finally we became stuck in first gear, but the problem was too bad for us to continue and we had to stop. It's deeply disappointing, as I think we could have made up some places and finished in a good position."
Tomorrow's final leg of the inaugural Rally d'Italia-Sardinia takes in six more stages, with the finish ceremony scheduled for 1600.