» BACK TO CRASH.NET

Crash.Net WRC News

Q&A: Marcus Gronholm - EXCLUSIVE

6 January 2007

by Rob Wilkins


BP Ford's number one driver, Marcus Gronholm is one of the favourites to take the WRC drivers' title this year. The Finn took seven wins in 2006 and finished the season just one point behind eventual champion, Sebastien Loeb. Here he speaks exclusively to Crash.net Radio ahead of the first event, the Rallye Monte Carlo, and predicts that consistency could be the key to his third WRC crown...



Q:
Marcus, as ever with the WRC there is a pretty quick turn around from one year to the next. How are you feeling ahead of the start of the 2007 season?

Marcus Gronholm
It is quite quick. We have just finished the last season, we had a lot of tests and we had a small break and then we start again. But that is OK. I am ready to go.

Q:
How has testing been going? What have you been working on?

MG:
We had a Monte test and a Sweden test and everything went to plan. There were no problems at all.

Q:
This is obviously your second year with BP Ford WRT, how much is that going to help now that you really know the team and they really know you?

MG:
I think it is good. Also, it is the second year for the car and it was already very good in the first year, but now it is even better. All of the things with the reliability have been solved, so it looks very good.

Q:
Are you looking forward to getting hold of the update to the car, around mid-season, I believe?

MG:
Yeah, but there is not so much coming - it is small things, but the margin to our other competitors is small and so you cannot do big steps. All the small things that are coming though are very important.

Q:
Last year you started the season off with two wins on the trot, can you do that again?

MG:
[laughs] OK it was a really good start last year. We were a little bit lucky in Monte Carlo, which is not really my favourite event and Sebastien [Loeb] is very, very good there. So I am not going to be really disappointed if I am second there - although of course it is never nice to be second. If I can win it will be even better, but what I am really looking forward to are the events after Monte, where I can definitely start to win.

Q:
How difficult is this year's Rallye Monte Carlo going to be in light of the changes to the format of the event?

MG:
I hope there will be snow - then it should be better for me. But I don't think there is a lot of snow there at the moment.

Q:
Sebastien Loeb is obviously going to be your main rival, at the Rallye Monte Carlo - and in 2007 as a whole. Do you feel confident you can stop him from taking his fourth drivers' title in a row?

MG:
In Monte I am not confident that I will beat him - not confident at all. I know that he is very strong when we go out with slicks in the wet and in slippery conditions, which I don't like so much. But if there is snow we will go out with snow tyres and so then I can match him.

Q:
Mikko Hirvonen, your team-mate, really seemed to find his feet at the end of the season - will that help or hinder you? Is he a contender for the title?

MG:
I think he has a good chance to take the title - why not? I am sure he will be strong and tough to beat this season. But let's wait and see what he can do.

Q:
Do you expect Petter Solberg and Subaru to be back on it?

MG:
I think Petter will be good again. I am sure the Subaru will be better and they have changed the tyres - they are on BFGoodrich tyres as well now. He will be fighting up there again.

Q:
What's the overall aim for 2007 and what's your strategy going to be?

MG:
There is only one goal for me - to win the title. That is my number one aim. As for my strategy, if I can't win, I have to be second. There can be no retirements, no problems - that is the only thing we can do to beat Sebastien because he is always at the finish. That is the problem he is extremely consistent and we have to do the same.

Q:
Thanks Marcus - and good luck in 2007.


» BACK TO CRASH.NET