Marcus Second For Peugeot in Turkey Two-time World Champion Marcus Gronholm has finished second on the Rally of Turkey, after a tight battle for victory. The final leg of the Rally of Turkey was made up of four stages, consisting of two stages...
Marcus Second For Peugeot in Turkey
Two-time World Champion Marcus Gronholm has finished second on the Rally of Turkey, after a tight battle for victory.
The final leg of the Rally of Turkey was made up of four stages, consisting of two stages in the morning repeated in the afternoon. With sharp rocks and deep ruts, crews had to strike the right balance between setting fast times and ensuring a reliable finish.
Marcus took the lead of the rally yesterday, before a bizarre incident on SS11, where a metal bar fixed into a concrete post on the inside of a corner pierced the underside of his car and co-driver Timo Rautianen's seat cushion. Marcus slowed down immediately to check that Timo was all right, but he was not able to claw back the time lost and regain the lead of the rally.
The Finn started today 25 seconds behind the leader, but set about reducing that gap by setting fastest time on the opening stage. His Peugeot 307 WRC was reliable for most of the rally, despite tough conditions and temperatures in excess of 40 degrees centigrade. He only encountered a problem on the penultimate stage of the rally, when his gearbox seized. However, he was able to fix the problem on the road section and maintain his well-deserved second place.
He said: "It's been a tough event and I've not been feeling very well today: maybe it was something I have eaten! At least Timo is feeling OK now after his problems yesterday. Generally it has not been too bad a rally for us, but the gearbox problem on the penultimate stage was a bit of a drama for us. Thanks to the advice of the engineers we were able to fix it rapidly, but we have been certainly made to work hard for our second place here!"
Unfortunately, the second Peugeot 307 WRC of Harri Rovanpera was forced to retire on the final stage of leg two with gearbox problems. Harri had set some excellent times to climb up to fourth overall, and was on course to score more points for himself and Peugeot.
Peugeot Sport team principal Corrado Provera commented: "This is a result which is below our expectations. To maintain our chances in the two championships we have to take as many points as we can, and on this occasion we let ourselves down with technical problems that ended Harri Rovanpera's excellent rally, and denied Marcus the chance of winning. Nothing is yet lost, but it's clear that our job to win the titles becomes harder..."
The eighth round of the World Rally Championship - which marks the mid-way point in the season - is the Rally of Argentina from July 16-18. Marcus Gronholm won the event last year, in a masterly display of driving, and this year he aims to repeat that triumph once more.