Gronholm extends his Swedish advantage. Marcus Gronholm has extended his lead of the Swedish Rally, and enters the final day of the event a comfortable 38.8 seconds ahead of Subaru's Tommi Makinen. Richard Burns completed leg two of the...
Gronholm extends his Swedish advantage.
Marcus Gronholm has extended his lead of the Swedish Rally, and enters the final day of the event a comfortable 38.8 seconds ahead of Subaru's Tommi Makinen.
Richard Burns completed leg two of the Swedish Rally in third position, making it two Peugeots in the top three.
Gronholm set three fastest times today and is confident that he can ensure a maximum points score for himself and Peugeot tomorrow. But he had a scare on the longest stage of the day, SS7, after hitting a hole close to the start.
"We hit the hole quite hard and the toe-in on the front wheels was completely destroyed, so they were both pointing inwards," said Marcus. "At first I was really scared, but then I realised that we could still drive on it. However, the problem meant that we ripped a lot of the studs out of our front wheels so the stage was difficult to drive."
Marcus had no problems on the remaining four stages that were run competitively and feels optimistic about his chances of maintaining the lead tomorrow. "I think we have a good advantage, but in rallying you can never draw any conclusions," he added. "Provided we have no major problems, I think we are in good shape."
Richard Burns is third overnight, and is concentrating on obtaining the best possible finish. The Englishman enjoyed today's conditions, and is looking forward to driving flat-out again tomorrow.
"The temperatures have been higher today, which has made the grip levels more consistent," he said. "I'm not really looking in front of me or behind me: I just want to drive the best I can and obtain the best possible result."
Harri Rovanpera was forced to retire today in a bizarre accident that also caused the retirement of the privateer Peugeot 206 of Juuso Pykalisto.
Juuso was stopped on stage five after a roll, but Harri, running behind him on the road, had not been warned of the accident. He could not avoid hitting Juuso's car, and both drivers retired. The stage was subsequently stopped, with the remaining drivers being given a notional time.
Team Peugeot Total director Jean-Pierre Nicolas commented: "It was an incredible case of bad luck. Unfortunately we lost two cars from the top six, and Juuso was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up. Happily, the doctors have given him a completely clean bill of health."
Tomorrow the first car leaves Karlstad at 0600 for the final leg of five stages. The winner is expected over the finish ramp at 1705.