The Peugeot 307WRC Aiming For Further Victory Success Less than a fortnight after seeing both its cars finish in the points in the recent World Championship newcomer, Rally Japan, Peugeot Sport returns to a more traditional backdrop for Round...
The Peugeot 307WRC Aiming For Further Victory Success
Less than a fortnight after seeing both its cars finish in the points in the recent World Championship newcomer, Rally Japan, Peugeot Sport returns to a more traditional backdrop for Round 12 of the series. To Great Britain, to be precise, where its two drivers - Harri Rovanperä and Marcus Grönholm - will be looking to add a second victory to the record of 307 WRC after its win in Finland last August. These two specialists will be joined in Cardiff by the promising Swedish youngster Daniel Carlsson who trades the 206 WRC he has driven on a regular basis in this year's championship for the 307 WRC that he will be driving in anger for the very first time.
One of the features of the World Rally Championship is the staggering variety of challenges and different types of terrain that it takes in each year, and the second half of the 2004 campaign features two new rounds, Japan and Sardinia. The Peugeot 307 WRC completed the recent Asian event in 4th and 6th positions, cheered on by spectators who clearly appreciated the quality of the show offered by the spectacular WRC machines. The French squad will be looking to do even better still when the series discovers the gravel tracks of Sardinia (Round 13). Before then, however, Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä will visit the much more familiar backdrop of the south Welsh forests.
Peugeot Sport will be looking for a top result on this highly selective event which is also one of world rallying's great classics. Formerly known as the RAC Rally, its route used to span three countries, from the wet tracks of Wales to the treacherous forests of England and Scotland. The much more compact nature of the sport's modern era has led the organisers however to focus their route on just one region and on a single host city, Cardiff.
Even so, Wales Rally GB does not lack character. The tough Welsh gravel tracks call for singular driving skills and faultless car preparation. For a long time organised in November as the final showdown of the season, the rally has often taken place in harsh weather conditions, so this year's change of date could well transform the event's challenge.
At the end of September, the weather can be very contrasting in this part of the world, ranging from wintry conditions to much more summery weather and this uncertainty clearly won't facilitate the task of the crews who, in accordance with the regulations, must choose their tyres for the weekend on the Monday prior to the start...
Peugeot boasts a successful record of wins in Great Britain, the most recent being that notched up in 2001 which in fact produced a resounding one-two for Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä.
Marcus Grönholm knows this event particularly well. In addition to his success in 2001, he also finished second in 2000 to clinch his first world title. In 2002, the Peugeot driver had carved out a sizeable lead before rolling out of contention on SS10. Another 'off' eliminated him from the final results in 2003.
Harri Rovanperä also boasts significant experience of this event in which he won the 2-litre category in 1997 before finishing three times in the points (6th, 3rd and 2nd) in 1998, 1999 and 2001. His other top ten results were 10th in 2000 and 7th in 2002.
A third 307 WRC has been entered for Daniel Carlsson whose objectives will be different than those of his team-mates. After competing in selected rounds of this year's championship with a Bozian-run Peugeot 206 WRC (Sweden, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Finland, Germany), the promising Swede, who is to defend Peugeot's colours in 2005, will be looking to obtain the best result possible without excessive pressure on his shoulders.