WRC »

Gronholm increases Oz lead on day two.


Finnish driver Marcus Gronholm has strengthened his grip on the 13th round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Rally Australia, which continued today.

He and his navigator Timo Rautiainen fended off any early challenge from Petter Solberg this morning, and then posted three fastest stage times in quick succession this afternoon to build their leg one lead of half a minute up to nearly 50 seconds.

Competition has been close for the remaining podium positions, with Solberg fighting off Carlos Sainz and the improving 206 WRC of Gronholm's team-mate, Harri Rovanpera.

But there was disappointment for 1995 world champion Colin McRae; he also increased his speed this morning, but he was forced to retire after he terminally damaged his Ford's radiator after a heavy landing on the car's nose.

The Peugeot 206 WRCs of Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have been reliable. Gronholm consolidated his overnight lead on this morning's first few stages, then attacked in the final tests this afternoon to increase the margin between himself and second-placed Petter Solberg to almost 50 seconds.

His team-mate Harri Rovanpera found greater speed after changing the pedal set-up on his 206 to an older specification; the Finn quickly moved past Carlos Sainz this morning and a string of fastest times was enough to keep him within 25 seconds of Solberg at the end of leg two.

''I'm actually quite bored now, to be honest!'' commented Gronholm. ''Today we've just been concentrating on not making mistakes and keeping the other guys at a good distance, and that's been quite easy. I have the feeling that I could even go a little quicker, but there's no point in taking risks. I'm looking forward to getting the final few stages out of the way tomorrow.''

Team-mate Rovanpera continued: ''We changed something with the pedals at the pre-event testing and I didn't have total confidence in the car yesterday, but we've gone back to the original settings now and it's been much better. I'm pushing hard but at the same time, it only takes a small mistake here for you to end your rally, so I'm still braking quite carefully.''

At Subaru meanwhile the Impreza WRC2002s of Petter Solberg and Tommi Makinen have hit a few niggles. Both have suffered from EMI mousse insert break-ups (Makinen encountered two problems on separate stages), and Solberg also lost time with a softening damper in SS16 and a front differential problem in the same test.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marcus Gronholm / Timo Rautiainen - Peugeot 206 WRC
Nasser Al-Attiyah - Mini ALL4 Racing
Petter Solberg celebrates at the 2007 Race of Champions
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Bjorn Waldegard [Pic credit: Race Retro / www.historicmotorsportshow.com]
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)
Jacques Villeneuve testing his Albatec Racing Peugeot [Pic credit: Gary Hawkins/Ebrey Photographic]
Jacques Villeneuve in his Albatec Racing Peugeot [Pic credit: Gary Hawkins/Ebrey Photographic]

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.