Marcus Gronholm has brought the curtain down on his illustrious World Rally Championship career with a second place finish on Wales Rally GB, although it wasn't enough to ensure that the Finn hangs up his helmet with a third drivers' title.

Heading into the weekend six points behind Sebastien Loeb following his retirement on Rally Ireland, the BP Ford driver was aware that he needed his rival to hit problems to stand a realistic chance of adding to the two titles he won while with Peugeot.

However, both title rivals adopted similar approaches to the event, with Gronholm settling into second place on the opening morning behind team-mate Mikko Hirvonen and Loeb running behind in third.

Those positions would remain unchanged throughout meaning that Gronholm had to settle for second both in the event and in the standings as he brought his career to the an end.

"We were very emotional at the end of the final stage," Gronholm reflected. "To end my career in a team like this is a wonderful feeling. I've enjoyed two years at Ford with almost no problems and had a great car to drive. Although I'm disappointed that I couldn't win the championship, it was clear before I started this rally that it would be difficult.

"This was an incredibly hard weekend. Driving in fog, rain and darkness at the same time was so difficult and as I'm newly-retired, I'm so happy that I don't have to drive in those conditions any more! I did all I could but it wasn't here that I missed out on the title, it was when I crashed on the previous round in Ireland."

The event was also the final rally for Jost Capito in his role as Ford TeamRS director before he takes up a new role as Vehicle Line Director for Ford Performance Vehicles.

"It's fantastic to end a season in which Ford has again won the manufacturers' world title with a double podium," he said. "I'm sorry Marcus and Timo couldn't finish their career with a third world title, but it's great that Mikko and Jarmo are proving themselves ready to challenge for top honours next year.

"The targets set for our four-year programme with the new-generation Ford Focus have been achieved in just three years, and that's the ideal way to hand over my responsibilities and take on new challenges in the company."


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