Harri Rovanpera has finished the Rally of Argentina in fifth place, scoring valuable points for himself and Peugeot Sport. The Finn was hampered by the failure of his power steering pump throughout four stages of the rally's opening leg. He ...
Harri Rovanpera has finished the Rally of Argentina in fifth place, scoring valuable points for himself and Peugeot Sport.
The Finn was hampered by the failure of his power steering pump throughout four stages of the rally's opening leg. He dropped several minutes, and despite many high-profile retirements, Harri was never able to recover from the time lost. A fighting drive on the second day saw Harri climb back to fifth position, but the gap to the cars in front was too big to enable him to make up more places on the final day.
"It was just a question of getting to the finish today," said Harri. "After the problem on the opening day our car gave us no trouble at all for the rest of the rally, so I am very frustrated by the thought of what we might have achieved here. We were conscious that we had to get to the finish, so there was no point in taking any risks and we tried to drive as cleanly as possible. But I'm looking forward to the next rally in Finland, which is my home event. We've done quite a lot of testing, and the car has definitely improved a lot."
Unfortunately, Harri's team mate Marcus Gronholm was forced to retire from the lead on the second leg after hitting a rock on SS19. The impact ripped a front-right wheel off, which eventually damaged the car's timing belt and ended Marcus's chances of victory. In total, he set nine fastest stage times before his retirement: more than any other driver.
Peugeot Sport team principal Corrado Provera commented: "It's been a very disappointing rally for us – although we have to thank Harri and Risto for the superbly professional job they have done for us as always. But we cannot help but look upon the Rally of Argentina as another opportunity to win that vanished with the retirement of Marcus and Timo. It is clear that our objective of winning the manufacturers' championship becomes impossible. Our target now is to make the 307 WRC a winner by the end of the season – and we will work tirelessly to achieve that goal."
The next round of the World Championship is the Rally Finland, from August 6-8. Marcus has won the event three times, and both he and Harri will be pushing hard to give the 307 WRC a debut victory on their local event.