Peugeot Ready For The Challenge Of Greece In the wake of the team's strong performance in Cyprus, everyone at Peugeot Sport team has been back at work with the aim of consolidating its return to top form with a good points haul on...
Peugeot Ready For The Challenge Of Greece
In the wake of the team's strong performance in Cyprus, everyone at Peugeot Sport team has been back at work with the aim of consolidating its return to top form with a good points haul on the Acropolis Rally, Round 6 of the sixteen-round 2004 World Championship. The French squad's determination will be reinforced by the fact that the Greek event is one of just two WRC classics that it has yet to win in the modern era of the series. Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä both believe firmly in their chances of putting that situation right with the 307 WRC which is proving increasingly incisive with every outing.
The 2004 World Championship has already taken teams to a range of very differing terrains, from the icy mountains of Monte Carlo to the flowing gravel stages of New Zealand, via the rough and twisty tracks of Cyprus. This variety will pick up again in earnest from July, but in the meantime the calendar features three similar-style events in close succession from mid-May to the end of June: Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. All located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, they are not only close geographically but they are also notoriously tough on the mechanicals. The Acropolis Rally is by far the oldest of these three competitions. Its loose stages are somewhat faster than those that are a hallmark of nearby Cyprus and the accent is more on outright car performance and driver skill. The going is still pretty rough, however, while temperatures are generally very high at this time of year, a combination that traditionally puts man and machine alike to the test.
That said, the team's result in Cyprus was very a encouraging pointer to the reliability of the 307 WRC. The current car is still young, so its performance on the Mediterranean island is a fitting reward for the hard work that has been put in at Peugeot Sport, while the team's new challenger has already given plenty of glimpses of its performance potential this year.
"I believed I had a chance of winning before going to Cyprus Rally and I have to say I was particularly pleased with the car's performance there. I am now very confident for Greece. In fact I think we could be even stronger there than we were in Cyprus, so long as I don't put a foot wrong of course and so long as we keep clear of problems," predicts an extremely buoyant Marcus Grönholm. The two-times World Champion has already tasted podium success in Greece when he came second with the 206 in 2002, but his three other previous visits to the country ended in retirement (2000, 2001 and 2003).
Harri Rovanperä is also feeling confident for the Acropolis Rally on which he has finished third (2001), fourth (2002) and sixth (2003). Last year, the Finn figured as high as second overall, less than five seconds off the leader but he then fell back when he encountered gearbox problems in the tenth stage. "It was quite similar to what happened to me this year in Cyprus. There, I was just ten seconds down on Marcus when I suddenly lost ground. But I am very optimistic for Greece. Our performance in Limassol confirmed the very positive impression we had after our long test at Chateau de Lastours in the south of France, and there can't be many tougher tests than Cyprus for a car as new as the 307 WRC. Given the island's specific terrain and all the data we collected there, I sincerely believe we have some good cards in our hands for the Acropolis Rally."