Peugeot One-Two in Cyprus! Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have ended leg one of the Cyprus Rally in first and second postions. Both Finns enjoyed a clean yet spectacular run through the hot and demanding stages, finishing the first day...
Peugeot One-Two in Cyprus!
Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have ended leg one of the Cyprus Rally in first and second postions. Both Finns enjoyed a clean yet spectacular run through the hot and demanding stages, finishing the first day just 10 seconds apart.
The conditions today were typical of the Rally Cyprus, with rough rocks, tight hairpin bends and searingly hot temperatures. Marcus had no mechanical problems at all during the morning's loop of three stages, but he suffered a clutch failure at the end of stage four. This meant that he had to get off the start line of stages five and six using just the starter motor. Despite this considerable handicap, Marcus is in the rally lead heading back to Parc Ferme in Limassol, having set a fastest stage time on SS4.
"I'm very happy to be leading - this is something that I am always trying to do!" he said. "Of course, the problem with the clutch was a big handicap on the last stages, especially because one of the starts was facing uphill. But on the whole the car has been excellent throughout the day, and has given me a lot of confidence in these very rough conditions. But there's a long way to go and we can take nothing for granted. Tomorrow we must keep pushing."
Harri had an equally good day, and was free of major mechanical problems throughout. He was constantly on the same pace as Marcus, and ends the day within sight of the lead.
"It's been an excellent day for me," he said. "The conditions were difficult, but I have nothing in particular to complain about. The car has felt very strong and we have been able to push at a good pace without taking any stupid risks. There are so many big rocks here that you can have a problem very quickly. That's why it's best not to think too much about what will happen next - it could be anything!"
Tomorrow's second leg of the Rally Cyprus takes in six more rocky stages, split once more into two groups of three. The first car leaves parc ferme at 0745, before returning to Limassol at 2100.