Gronholm takes second win of 2003 in NZ.

At Hyundai Freddy Loix crashed out of the rally on SS18, their Hyundai Accent WRC had been reliable up until that point. Armin Schwarz and Jussi Valimaki both crashed out on the opening leg of the event.

Loix moved up one place, courtesy of the time penalty which the organisers imposed on Tommi Makinen [Subaru]. While pushing hard to keep Skoda driver Toni Gardemeister behind him, the Belgian went off the road on the second stage of the day though, rolling the car at high speed.

Loix said: ''The back end of the car stepped out and clipped bank in and rolled a few times. I wasn't too happy with my time through the first stage of the day and Toni was coming, so I was going hard. I'm disappointed, but at the same time I felt I had been driving well on the stages before this. It's a shame we didn't get to the stages this afternoon - as I always seem to go well there. I'm sorry for the team, everybody had worked hard and deserved some points from this rally.''

Team Principal, David Whitehead added: ''There is very little margin for error on this event and both Freddy and Armin have been caught out by the conditions. I'm heartened by the improvements which we made to the car before the event, but we have to keep the pressure up and hope that the hard work pays off on the next round.''

Of the other entries Japan's Toshi Arai won the second round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, scooping the overall Group N award in his latest specification Subaru Impreza at the same time. Arai's only concern through the final day was the way the abrasive surface was wearing the tyres out on his car. Marcos Ligato was second in the Production Car standings in a Mitsubishi Lancer.

The leading non-manufacturer on the overall results was Alister McRae who brought his Mitsubishi Lancer WRC home in sixth place despite differential trouble on the final leg.

Rally statistics - Leg 3:

Starters: 51 crews (24 Group A and 27 Group N) started this morning.

Retirements: Loix (B) and four other drivers.

Today - Sunday 9 February: Leg 3 started from Auckland at 06h00 and covered 340.55km, including 113.81km on six stages. The first car arrived back in Auckland at 15h30.

Stage by stage summary - Leg 3:

SS17 Te Akau South Reverse (27.34kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 15m 49.7
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 15m 54.2
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 16m 02.5

Leaders after SS17:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 2h 58m 33.4
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 2h 59m 47.1
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 00m 28.6

SS18 Te Akau North (32.37kms):
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 17m 43.0
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 17m 43.2
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 17m 45.1

Leaders after SS18:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 16m 16.6
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 3h 17m 30.1
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 18m 13.7

SS19 Ridge/Campbell 1 (16.45kms):
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 8m 53.7
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 8m 54.3
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 8m 55.5

Leaders after SS19:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 25m 10.9
2. Makinen (FIN) Subaru 3h 26m 23.8
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 3h 27m 09.2

SS20 Ridge/Campbell 2 (16.45kms):
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 8m 46.9
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 8m 48.3
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 8m 49.1

Leaders after SS20:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 33m 59.2
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 3h 35m 10.7
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 35m 58.3

SS21 Fyfe 1 (10.60kms):
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 5m 42.3
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 5m 43.0
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 5m 47.5

Leaders after SS21:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 39m 42.2
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 3h 40m 53.0
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 41m 50.2

SS22 Fyfe 2 (10.60kms):
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 5m 36.9
2. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 5m 39.0
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 5m 40.8

Leaders after SS22:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 45m 21.2
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot +1m 08.7
3. Solberg (N) Subaru +2m 09.8
4. Loeb (F) Citroen +4m 15.4
5. Gardemeister (FIN) Skoda +8m 13.8
6. A.McRae (GB) Mitsubishi +9m 14.2
7. Makinen (FIN) Subaru +9m 50.2
8. Auriol (F) Skoda +10m 18.6
9. Duval (B) Ford +11m 11.7
10. Hirvonen (FIN) Ford +13m 42.3

Production Car WRC leaders after SS22:
1. Arai (J) Subaru 4h 03m 30.3
2. Ligato (RA) Mitsubishi +2m 10.2
3. Al Wahaibi (OM) Mitsubishi +2m 47.0
4. Rowe (GB) Subaru +2m 51.6
5. Ferreyros (PE) Mitsubishi +3m 14.5
6. Singh (MAL) Proton +3m 46.8
7. McShea (GB) Mitsubishi +5m 39.4
8. Blomqvist (S) Subaru +11m 06.4

Final rally statistics:

Event: The rally covered 1297.62km, including 403.34km on 22 special stages (including seven run twice). All stages were on gravel roads closed to other traffic.

Starters: 80 crews (40 Group A and 40 Group N) started the rally.

Finishers: 46 crews (21 Group A and 25 Group N) finished the rally.

Stage winners:
Gronholm (SS1-3-4-5-6-8-9-10-14-17)
Burns (SS2-7-18-19-20-21-22)
Martin (SS11-12-13)
Duval (SS15)
Solberg (SS16)

Rally leaders:
SS1-SS22 Gronholm

FIA World Rally Championships:

FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers (provisional standings after 4 of 14 rounds): Burns (GB) 26, Gronholm (FIN) 20, Loeb (F) 17, C. McRae (GB) 17, Sainz (E) 16, Martin (EE) 13, Makinen (FIN) 11, Solberg (N) 9, Duval (B) 8, Gardemeister (FIN) 7, Panizzi (F) 4, Robert (F) 3, A. McRae (GB) 3, Schwarz (D) 1, Auriol (F) 1.

FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers (provisional standings after 4 of 14 rounds): Peugeot 49, Citroen 44, Ford 26, Subaru 22, Skoda 12, Hyundai 3.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Peugeot`s Marcus Gronholm and co-driver Timo Rautiainen celebrate victory on the Rally NZ [2003]
Tommi Makinen, Toyota Gazoo Racing, WRC [Credit: 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)
Citroen Racing, WRC, [Credit: Citroen Racing WRC]
James Grint - Albatec 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)
Nasser Al-Attiyah - MINI ALL4 Racing
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)

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