WRC »

Loeb takes Monte lead after Gronholm's mistake.


Sebastien Loeb headed the leaderboard as the cars arrived back in Monaco on this opening round of the 2003 FIA World Rally Championship.

The second leg of the rally didn't get underway until SS8, following the organiser's decision to cancel the seventh stage due to the high number of spectators present.

When the day's rallying did start, Loeb reduced Marcus Gronholm's lead to 12.8 seconds. Loeb admitted he'd taken risks and pushed hard through the 25km Saint Antonin-Tourette du Chateau test. Gronholm had felt ill-at ease running slick racing tyres on the damp and occasionally icy surface.

Gronholm hit a wall six kilometres into the following stage breaking a steering link on his Peugeot. The Finn's demise left Loeb to head a Citroen one-two-three back into the principality. Colin McRae holds second place just over one minute behind Loeb, but 37.1 seconds ahead of Carlos Sainz. Markko Martin is fourth, despite feeling unwell.

The rally was disrupted by a road traffic accident on the A8 this afternoon. The road was blocked and 21 crews were re-routed back to Monaco where they were put into parc ferme.

Peugeot's Gilles Panizzi retired on the second stage this morning, feeling unwell. The two remaining 206 WRCs driven by Gronholm and Richard Burns ran without problems.

Gronholm started the day at the head of the field, but lost time to Sebastien Loeb on stage eight. The Finn then lost control of his 206 WRC on an icy stretch of the following test and hit a wall with the right-front wheel. He continued to drive for 12km, but was forced to stop. He radioed the team and explained what had happened. Gronholm then fitted a new steering link to the car and was able to carry on. He lost 33 minutes repairing the car, but was able to set a competitive time through the day's final stage. He has dropped to 15th position.

Burns took a wrong tyre choice for the final two stages of the day, running a compound of Michelin slick tyre that was too hard for the damp roads. Burns dropped almost two minutes through the first stage, but not so much on SS10 which was drier. Burns lies fifth.

''When I stopped after I'd hit the wall, I thought I'd retired, so I was taking my time fixing the car,'' noted Gronholm. ''When it was done Jean-Pierre Nicolas came on the radio and asked if I could carry on. If I'd known I would have changed the part faster. It is very disappointing, I feel the same way as before I started this rally: I don't like it very much.''



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena - Citroen Xsara WRC
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]
Joan `Nani` Roma / Michel Périn. MINI ALL4 Racing. Monster Energy X-raid Team. Dakar Rally winners 2014 [Pic credit: MINI/BMW]
Joan `Nani` Roma / Michel Périn. MINI ALL4 Racing. Monster Energy X-raid Team. Dakar Rally 2014 [Pic credit: MINI/BMW]

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.