LEG TWO : MARCUS GIVES IT EVERYTHING! After a flamboyant attack, Marcus Gronholm is up to second place on the Rally Japan. The Finn is gradually catching the leader Petter Solberg, to whom he closed to within 20 seconds half way through the day.
LEG TWO : MARCUS GIVES IT EVERYTHING!
After a flamboyant attack, Marcus Gronholm is up to second place on the Rally Japan. The Finn is gradually catching the leader Petter Solberg, to whom he closed to within 20 seconds half way through the day. Daniel Carlsson ends the leg in a solid 10th, after a trouble-free run.
Leg two of the Rally Japan took in two loops of five stages, plus a further 14-kilometre stage in the afternoon. The competitive distance totalled 100 kilometres, run in rainy conditions during the morning, which gave way to progressively drier weather in the afternoon.
Marcus Gronholm, with a good tyre choice under him, was on a charge from the start, setting three fastest times and two second-fastest times. During the afternoon, an over-cautious tyre choice meant that he was less competitive, and Marcus gave back some of the time he had gained from Solberg in the morning.
Marcus Gronholm: "This afternoon was quite tricky for us. For the last three stages we had a problem with the differential, which meant that the handling of the car was quite difficult. Then on the road section towards the superspecial we heard a noise from the gearbox, which worried me. Luckily we were able to make it to the end with no problems but it has not been easy. Tomorrow I do not think we have a chance to catch Petter under normal circumstances so we just have to do our best and get to the finish, which has been our aim throughout the rally."
Daniel Carlsson: "I struggled to find a good feeling with the car today: I am not quite sure why as the set-up was no different to yesterday. In particular I didn't feel so confident over the stages with big ruts. I thought that I was braking too early on most of the corners but still I nearly went off a few times! But we're learning more with every stage, so tomorrow we will just aim for a safe finish."
Jean-Pierre Nicolas: "Marcus had a magnificent run through the first loop of stages, taking 15 seconds out of Petter Solberg using a similar type of tyre to him. But Solberg's softer tyre choice in the afternoon allowed him to take 12 seconds back from Marcus on those damp stages. The other very positive point about today is the second place claimed by Marcus, who took 51 seconds out of Sebastien Loeb today. Both cars showed themselves to be extremely reliable. Daniel continued to learn both the car and this rally, which is very specialised."