Monte Carlo has traditionally been an unlucky event for Peugeot, but Marcus Gronholm and Freddy Loix came home in a strong fourth and fifth place after three days of tricky and competitive action. Marcus concentrated on having a clean run and ...
Monte Carlo has traditionally been an unlucky event for Peugeot, but Marcus Gronholm and Freddy Loix came home in a strong fourth and fifth place after three days of tricky and competitive action.
Marcus concentrated on having a clean run and making no mistakes today, and he finished in style by winning the final stage of the rally. Today's action consisted of four stages, including two runs over the famous Col de Turini. Conditions were very slippery, but both drivers kept up a solid rhythm to the end.
"I'm glad it's all over!" said Marcus at the finish. "I've always found the changing weather conditions of this event very difficult, so fourth place is not a bad result at all. Maybe we could have been higher up if we had not slid off the road yesterday for 40 seconds, but I can't complain about anything else. The most important thing is that the new 307 WRC has been both fast and reliable, so I feel very positive about the rest of the season."
Freddy dropped time on the morning loop of stages after he was advised to take studded snow tyres, in case spectators dropped snow onto the Col de Turini stage. Despite this handicap, he finished in a fine fifth place and learnt a lot about his new team and car.
"We decided to take the safest possible option, as I had a big gap in front of me and behind me," said Freddy. "It turned out that snow tyres were the wrong option, but you can never tell what will happen in Monte Carlo. I'm happy to get to the finish with some points after my first rally in the 307 WRC. I've learnt a lot and I think I am improving all the time."
Peugeot Sport principal Corrado Provera declared himself satisfied with the team's work during the season-opener. "For the first time, we are leaving Monte Carlo with a smile on our faces," he said. "We started with two cars and both have come back to us in a good points-scoring position. The new car is fast and we have a good platform to work from. Marcus could have been better placed had he not gone off yesterday, but he did very well considering that this is a rally he has never liked. Freddy dropped some time on the opening day, but the time he lost on the final day with snow tyres was our fault. Nonetheless, if he can bring us some more points finishes as he has done today then we are happy, as consistency is important to win the title."
The next round of the World Rally Championship is the Swedish Rally, based in Karlstad from February 6-8.