Peugeot Determined To Battle On All Fronts The two most recent rounds of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship that took place in Cyprus and Greece were not particularly happy events for Marcus GrÃ¶nholm and his 307 WRC. But that has only ...
Peugeot Determined To Battle On All Fronts
The two most recent rounds of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship that took place in Cyprus and Greece were not particularly happy events for Marcus Grönholm and his 307 WRC. But that has only served to strengthen the resolve of everyone at Peugeot Sport as the team turns its attention to the Rally of Turkey where its objective is crystal clear: to throw all its strength into the forthcoming fixtures with a view to getting back into the title chase.
Despite Harri Rovanperä's positive performance in Greece, Peugeot's visit to the first two encounters of this year's mini Mediterranean tour failed to produce the level of results that the 307 WRC's qualities could have allowed it to hope for. That said, in the immediate wake of the Cyprus Rally, life couldn't have been rosier for the team-- until Marcus Grönholm's win and Harri Rovanperä's 5th place were taken away from them. Then, in Greece, an 'off' put paid to Marcus Grönholm's hopes of adding to his score in the Drivers' championship.
These setbacks mean that Peugeot currently figures in 4th place in the provisional Manufacturers' standings, while Grönholm and Rovanperä are respectively 4th and 7th in the Drivers' classification. Of the championship's sixteen rounds, however, only six have taken place so far and everything is still possible for the increasingly competitive 307 WRC. "Given how we performed in Cyprus and Greece, I think we can hope for a top result in Turkey which would show the speed and reliability of our car," says Peugeot Sport Director Corrado Provera. "There is a huge will within the team to recover the ground we have lost in the championship for a variety of reasons. It's up to us now to score a maximum amount of points over the next few events--"
Next on the calendar is the Rally of Turkey, the final leg in the sequence of 'hot and rough' rounds that began in May. The event features a mixture of the characteristics of the neighbouring Acropolis and Cyprus Rallies. It counted as a WRC qualifier for the first time in February last year and its new summer date this season is likely to produce much hotter conditions in the mountains that overlook the country's southern city, Antalya.
Marcus Grönholm is particularly fired up going into this event. "The last two rallies were nightmares as far as I am concerned," admits the two-times World Champion. "Immediately after Cyprus, I was leading the World Championship before having my win taken away from me which dropped me to 4th in the Drivers' standings. That wasn't a nice experience! I've only got myself to blame though for my off in Greece. I was probably over eager to make up lost ground in the championship as quickly as possible."
Despite the retirement of his team-late in Greece, Harri Rovanperä put in an excellent performance and the Finn is feeling particularly confident and motivated for Turkey, although he is perfectly aware that the event represents a tough challenge. "We have worked hard to prepare for Turkey and our recent results show the progress we have made over recent weeks. I am confident we can do well but it promises to be a very difficult rally. The chances are that it will be extremely hot, unlike last year, and that will put a different face on it. We will have to be strong and consistent over the three days," he warns.