PEUGEOT FIGHT FOR TOP SPOT IN ARGENTINA Peugeot 206 WRC driver Marcus Gronholm is in a strong position to challenge for victory on the Rally Argentina, after today's first complete leg. The Finn set two fastest times and despite losing a...
PEUGEOT FIGHT FOR TOP SPOT IN ARGENTINA
Peugeot 206 WRC driver Marcus Gronholm is in a strong position to challenge for victory on the Rally Argentina, after today's first complete leg. The Finn set two fastest times and despite losing a little time with a slight engine misfire after a watersplash, he finished the day in second place, less than five seconds behind the leader.
Thousands of spectators flocked to the hillsides northwest of Cordoba, and the crowds were big enough to cause the cancellation of one stage and delays to others. Gronholm grabbed the lead with fastest time on the day's first stage, and held it for much of the afternoon. But an engine misfire cost him vital seconds and dropped him to second, behind Carlos Sainz.
Marcus said: "I needed a few kilometres before I realised how slippery it was this morning, so we had a few close moments. But the car has been good, with excellent handling today. I think we've made some good tyre choices too, especially on the early stages. Even with the engine misfire the times are good, so I'm hopeful that it can be fixed and we can push for the lead tomorrow."
His French team-mate Francois Delecour started the day in fourth overall but he lost time with a hydraulic fluid leak, and then an exhaust problem. However, he still returned to the overnight service with the chance of increasing his experience of Argentine roads tomorrow.
Francois said: "The fluid leak was bad because it caused a small fire and it was getting pretty hot inside the car. But we put it out with the extinguisher and as long as I didn't turn on the engine's Anti-Lag System, it seemed fine. It's been a difficult day but I'm still learning about the stages here. I hope we have better luck from now on."
Corrado Provera said: "We are very please with Marcus' performance but at the same time we are very disappointed for Francois and the series of mechanical problem he suffered today. His third fastest time this afternoon in the last stage was a big boost to confidence both in practical and human term."
Saturday's route takes crews south of host town Cordoba, to 131km of competitive stages near Santa Rosa da Calamuichita.