EXCELLENT SECOND PLACE FOR MARKKO MARTIN Although the weather forecast was for snow storms on the final leg of the Rally Sweden, a storm of a different sort was taking place on the icy stages. Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm started the day ...
EXCELLENT SECOND PLACE FOR MARKKO MARTIN
Although the weather forecast was for snow storms on the final leg of the Rally Sweden, a storm of a different sort was taking place on the icy stages. Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm started the day just behind Subaru's Petter Solberg, but while he kept pace with the rally leader on the opening stage this morning, the Finn rolled his 307 WRC into retirement on the following test.
It was a sad end to what had been a fantastic battle between the two Scandinavian drivers, with Marcus demonstrating an electric pace over the opening two days of the event. Markko Martin finished a well-deserved runner-up in Sweden on only his second rally for Peugeot, after refining the set-up of his 307 WRC and learning more about his new car and Pirelli tyres. His result moves Peugeot up to second in the manufacturers' championship.
A third Peugeot 307 WRC driven by up-and-coming Swede Daniel Carlsson ended the rally in a fine sixth place after setting two fastest times today -- despite losing time with suspension damage on the opening leg.
Markko Martin: "I am a little surprised to finish second here! It was an action-packed rally with nothing decided right until the very end. I learnt a lot about the set-up of my car and about the new Pirelli tyres. I was very pleased by their performance -- they were very fast and retained the studs extremely well despite the difficult and gravely road conditions. I'm really looking forward to the Rally Mexico next month now, which is an event I won last year."
Daniel Carlsson: "The first stage today was new to the rally, and the conditions were very different to those I had seen during the recce. My notes could have been better, but I was still able to attack with confidence thanks to some new differential settings that worked very well. My two fastest times gave me a lot of pleasure but I really regret the incident on the opening day, which cost me a lot of time and meant that I was running first on the road on Saturday. Under the circumstances sixth is an excellent result but we could have achieved even more."
Corrado Provera: "I'm full of admiration for the excellent job that Markko Martin and his co-driver Michael Park have done in order to get to grips with their new Peugeot 307 WRC, even though there is still some work for them to do to before they have complete confidence. But Marcus Gronholm's retirement is a big and unnecessary disappointment. We had no mechanical problems with either of the cars throughout the rally, with only routine maintenance required. This rally has been something of a missed opportunity, but we are firmly on the right road. I'd like also to congratulate Daniel Carlsson and his co-driver Matthias Andersson who would have been fighting for a podium place had it not been for their small mistake on Friday."