Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm has finished second on the Rally New Zealand, after a thrilling final day of action. The Finn is now just two points off the World Championship lead. His team mate Harri Rovanpera ends Rally New Zealand fifth,...
Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm has finished second on the Rally New Zealand, after a thrilling final day of action. The Finn is now just two points off the World Championship lead. His team mate Harri Rovanpera ends Rally New Zealand fifth, scoring valuable manufacturer points for Peugeot.
Today's final leg consisted of six stages split into two groups of three, run to the south of Auckland. Conditions were cloudy and slightly damp in the morning, before warming up in the afternoon. Marcus started the day in second place, and won the leg's opening stage. He took a slim lead by SS20 and fought for victory in a tooth and nail duel until the end. His Peugeot 307 WRC was reliable throughout the rally, and over the three days of competition he set nine fastest stage times in total.
Marcus said: "It's been a very good rally for us, but the most important thing about it is that the 307 WRC is definitely heading in the right direction. There are still some important developments to come, but all the team's hard work on the new car is beginning to pay off. This has been our best rally of the season, and I'd like to thank everybody for all their efforts. We're now just two points behind the World Championship leader and the rest of the season is looking good for us."
Harri had a trouble-free day other than a spin on SS20, and chose to drive carefully to the finish, building up more experience of the 307 WRC with every kilometre. He led the rally on the opening leg, and has maintained a front-running pace throughout all three days. His car has also been a hundred percent reliable.
Harri said: "I'm very happy with what we have achieved. I was delighted to take the lead on the opening day and I had a really good feeling with the car all the time. The most important thing for me on this event was always to get a good finish, and my clear objective was to score some points for Peugeot. I'm really looking forward to the future now."
Peugeot Sport boss Corrado Provera commented: "Both our cars have at various points led the rally, and the moral of the story is that hard work always pays dividends. There is no doubt that Marcus could have won and Harri has done exactly the job that we asked of him. I'm absolutely delighted to say that Harri will be staying with us for all the gravel rounds of this year's championship. So now we move on to the next challenge!"