WRC »

Gronholm closes in on Welsh win.

Marcus Gronholm is closing in on victory in Wales Rally GB after extending his advantage on the second day of competition in the Welsh forests.

The BP Ford man started the day with an advantage of 25.8secs over Petter Solberg with the Subaru man seemingly poised to try and launch an attack in his quest to secure a fifth straight Welsh win, but the wheels started to come off his challenge on the very first stage of the day.

The first run through Crychan saw Solberg lose time with a brief off into a ditch and when he then hit a gatepost in the afternoon run through Epynt and damaged his steering, the Norwegian's challenge effectively came to an end.

For Gronholm however, the day passed without major incident despite heavy rain hitting the stages to such an extent that some drivers claimed to be unable to see exactly where they were going as their windscreen wipers struggled to deal with the volume of water.

The Finn secured another five stage wins over the course of the day to head back to service following the Cardiff Superspecial in the Millennium Stadium with a healthy lead of just under a minute and 20 seconds.

"It was really slippery but there was no rain on the stages so conditions weren't too bad," Gronholm said. "The first cars on the road had an advantage in those conditions but there was nothing to worry about where I was. The surface was hard so the roads weren't cutting up. I made no mistakes and was able to ease off a little when I heard that Petter had gone off."

With Solberg's problems, second overnight is the OMV Peugeot of Manfred Stohl, although the Austrian driver was unable to match his front-running pace from the opening leg. Admitting that conditions were more difficult on the stages than on Friday, he was quickest through Crychan 2 but then struggled for pace in the following two 'big' stages before heading to Cardiff in what has become a lonely second place, with Gronholm seemingly out of touch ahead and Solberg some 50 seconds behind.

After blitzing SS6 on Friday afternoon, Solberg ended leg one with a smile on his face, but losing 30secs on SS7 on Saturday morning wasn't part of the plan for leg two. The Subaru man bounced back from the disappointment of that mistake to post top three times on the following two stages to ensure that he had reclaimed second spot from Stohl when the crews returned to Felindre and the mid-day service.

Despite setting a time slower than Stohl on the return to Crychan, Solberg retained second place heading on the Epynt stages before he fell foul of the same gatepost that forced Gronholm to retire two years ago. While the impact didn't prevent Solberg from getting out of the stage, damage to the steering saw him lose 50 seconds. As if that time loss wasn't bad enough, Solberg and Phil Mills were then faced with the long drive to and from Cardiff for the Superspecial, where Solberg still managed to out on a show for the fans with the stricken car.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marcus Gronholm (FIN) - Timo Rautiainen (FIN), BP Ford Focus WRC. Wales Rally GB, 1st-3rd December 2006.
Manfred Stohl (AUT) - Ilka Minor (AUT), OMV Peugeot Norway WRT 307 WRC. Wales Rally GB, 1st-3rd December 2006.
Petter Solberg (N) - Philip Mills (GBR), Subaru WRT Impreza WRC. Wales Rally GB, 1st-3rd December 2006.
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Fabio Andolfi (ITA) Manuel Fenoli (ITA) HYUNDAI i20 R5, ACI TEAM ITALIA
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - TEEMU SUNINEN (FIN) - MIKKO MARKKULA (FIN) FORD FIESTA R5, M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - JEAN-MICHEL RAOUX (FRA) - THOMAS ESCARTEFIGUE (FRA) CITROEN DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - Valeriy Gorban (UKR)-Sergei Larens (EST) BMW‐Mini John Cooper Works, Eurolamp World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team

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 - 2017 Crash Media Group

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