Marcus Gronholm endured a trying return to the World Rally Championship in Sweden after a myriad of problems left the former champion with a 21st place finish on his outing for the Stobart
Gronholm had hoped to fight for a place on the podium as he got back behind the wheel of the Ford Focus WRC, but his hopes were ended on the opening day when an electrical issue saw him drop ten minutes.
A puncture on Saturday morning saw further time lost before Gronholm bounced back to win the second run through his favourite stage Sagen – although an overshoot and damage to his light pod later in the day resulted in more lost time.
The Finn enjoyed a solid run through the final day – with strong stage times on both SS17 and SS19 – but he admitted it was always going to be difficult to achieve his pre-event aims.
"In proper snow conditions we have set some good times; the best stage for me was the second pass through Sagen,” he said. “It was great to be fastest there ahead of the regular drivers. We were on a good pace when things went well but unfortunately we had too many small problems that dropped us a lot of time.
“There was no chance to fight for a podium position, but it was always going to be hard coming here after such a big gap from regular rallying."
Henning Solberg, who was also nominated for manufacturer points alongside Gronholm, took sixth place in his first outing alongside new co-driver Ilka Minor, while Matthew Wilson
battled through 'the hardest snow rally' he'd ever done to take seventh.
Mattias Therman, who was also running under the Stobart
banner for the event, finished just behind Gronholm in 25th place.