Peugeot Drivers Push On in Japan Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have ended the second leg of the inaugural Rally Japan in fifth and eighth places respectively. Today's action consisted of 11 challenging gravel stages ...
Peugeot Drivers Push On in Japan
Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have ended the second leg of the inaugural Rally Japan in fifth and eighth places respectively.
Today's action consisted of 11 challenging gravel stages around rally headquarters in Obihiro, with just one service halt in between. Temperatures remained dry and hot throughout the day, pushing drivers and cars to the limit.
Marcus started the day challenging for the lead, but dropped to fifth after his car became jammed in third gear on SS13. The problem was fixed at service, and Marcus fought back to set some competitive times during the afternoon, before being slowed by a tyre choice that was too hard for the stage conditions.
The Finn said: "We started the day optimistic that we could move up the leaderboard, but then quite suddenly we could only get third gear on SS13. I tried to limit the damage as much as possible, but it was clear that we were going to lose some time. In the afternoon we took a gamble on hard tyres, but it didn't pay off. I'm still optimistic that we can score some good points tomorrow."
Harri dropped time yesterday with gear selection problems, which forced him to start today as the first factory car on the road. The loose gravel meant that he dropped time in the morning, although the situation improved as the roads cleaned for the second run in the afternoon. His Peugeot 307 WRC was entirely reliable throughout the day.
Harri said: "We really struggled in the morning with all the loose gravel: it was some of the worst that I've seen. The car was good, but unfortunately we were not in a position to capitalise on it. In the afternoon we had a better time, but we already lost too much to stand a chance of a top result. Now it is just a question of coming home with as many points as possible."
Tomorrow's final leg of the Rally Japan consists of seven stages, totalling 111 competitive kilometres. The first car leaves Parc Ferme early at 0530, and the winner is expected on the finish ramp at 1600.