Marcus Piles On The Pressure Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm is poised for a strong podium finish at the end of leg two of the Rally New Zealand. Marcus is second overnight, just 19 seconds behind the leader, while his team mate Harri Rovanpera...
Marcus Piles On The Pressure
Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm is poised for a strong podium finish at the end of leg two of the Rally New Zealand. Marcus is second overnight, just 19 seconds behind the leader, while his team mate Harri Rovanpera finishes the day in fourth.
Today's second leg was longest day of the rally, consisting of eight stages split into two groups of four. The roads were generally faster than yesterday's route with some flowing cambers and lots of loose gravel. Despite clouds in the morning, the weather stayed unexpectedly hot and dry throughout.
Marcus was on scintillating form to set four fastest stage times today, and he ends the leg challenging for the lead of the rally. The two-time World Champion is looking forward to tomorrow's action, having won Rally New Zealand for the past two years running.
"We're going to be pushing hard again tomorrow," said Marcus. "I don't know what chances we have of winning or not -- it's going to be difficult -- but I'm certainly going to be trying hard. I've had a very good feeling with the car and the stages today and we've been able to set some quick times. Now it is a question of trying to do the same tomorrow."
Harri used this morning's stages to build up more confidence with the 307 WRC on loose gravel -- in only his second event with the car. The Finn thought he could have chosen softer tyres, but he drove quickly and consistently to stay in touch with the leaders. His Peugeot 307 WRC has so far been entirely trouble-free.
Harri said: "It's been a good day for us and I'm learning more about the 307 WRC all the time. I didn't feel so confident about attacking this morning's stages because there was a lot of loose gravel and it would have been very easy to go off. I don't want to take any unnecessary risks -- the most important thing is to finish the rally in a good position."
Tomorrow's final leg to the south of Auckland takes in six more stages, split into two groups of three. The winner is expected on the finish ramp at 1700, after three intense days and 395 kilometres of competition.