Points For Marcus and Harri in Japan Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have finished fourth and sixth on the inaugural Rally Japan, scoring valuable points for themselves and Peugeot. The Japanese stages consisted of fast...
Points For Marcus and Harri in Japan
Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have finished fourth and sixth on the inaugural Rally Japan, scoring valuable points for themselves and Peugeot.
The Japanese stages consisted of fast and narrow gravel roads, with some tight corners and slower technical sections. Weather conditions remained dry and warm throughout all three days of the event. Today's action consisted of seven mountainous stages to the north west of rally headquarters in Obihiro.
Marcus started the day fifth, after dropping time with a gearbox problem and a tyre choice that was too hard yesterday. Today went much better, with the Finn enjoying the challenging flat-out stages and moving up to fourth. His 307 WRC was entirely reliable throughout the final leg.
Marcus said: "It's been a difficult rally, where we just had to take as many points as possible. On the first day we were on the same pace as the leaders, but unfortunately we dropped back with a few problems on day two. The final leg was quite exciting for me as we had a big battle for fourth place. Under the circumstances, we did the best we could."
Harri was held back by gear selection problems on the opening day, which meant that he dropped more time by running as first factory car on the road during leg two. He struggled through the loose gravel, sweeping the road clean for the cars behind. On the final day he had the same handicap and also suffered from fading brakes. Nonetheless, he steered clear of trouble to score some well-deserved points.
The Finn said: "We were unlucky here, as myself and the car were good enough to get a top result. We've not really had a perfect run over any of the stages, but sometimes our sport is like that! I've enjoyed the event and the stages, but we were constantly fighting problems. Let's hope for better luck next time!"
Peugeot Sport team principal Corrado Provera commented: "It's been a disappointing rally for us where we did not capitalise on the car's winning capabilities that were shown in Finland. There have been too many technical problems for both Marcus and Harri and it's clear that we still have a lot of work to do."
The next round of the World Rally Championship is the Rally Great Britain, which takes place in Cardiff from September 17-19. This classic gravel rally, which has been won by Marcus Gronholm in the past, is moving from its traditional end of season slot in November.