Argentina: Gronholm's dominant win

Marcus Gronholm has won the Rally Argentina, with co-driver Timo Rautiainen, after a dominant day behind the wheel of the Peugeot. Carlos Sainz won the final stage but neither he nor third-placed man Richard Burns could catch the flying Finn, although it was not for the lack of trying

Argentina: Gronholm's dominant win

Burns tried desperately to claw back time in the closing stages, but frustration was his only reward as his Peugeot developed a turbo problem. He lost an agonising 40 seconds as he nursed his car through the final stage to finish almost a minute off Sainz. Harri Rovanpera finished fourth overall, with Subaru's Petter Solberg coming home in fifth.

The Peugeot team held its collective breath when Gronholm had an off and lost about two minutes getting back underway. "I still thought he could win, of course," said team boss Corrado Provera. "OK, hitting the rock was unfortunate, but it's just one of those things that happens occasionally if you're pushing hard.

"I feel so sorry for Richard (Burns), who lost second place due to our mistake with his turbo," added the Italian. "But he has done another extraordinary job."

Markko Martin started the day in the lead but lost it early on when his Ford Focus developed an oil pressure problem. But he would never have realistically held off the charge of Gronholm on top form.

Ford team boss Colin Wilson said: "Markko's first win will come but the great thing is that so many of our rivals have said how good our car is," he said. We've again showed its potential here and we've drawn a lot of confidence, especially in the way the suspension performed on such a rough surface. That gives us a big boost for Greece."

Whether or not Gronholm would have had Sainz - had it not been for his penalty for checking into a service stop at the wrong time - is a moot point, but the Citroen team has proven its point here. Despite no experience of Argentina it has come in and shown itself capable of winning, and the only remaining 'unknown' rally for the team is Cyprus.

Skoda kept its challenge afloat, despite a catalogue of small disasters. Didier Auriol and Toni Gardemeister finished sixth and seventh. Gardemeister started the rally with a minute penalty for driving without GPS tracking on the recce before the start.

Sainz's second place jumps him up to third overall in the championship, ahead of Sebastien Loeb and Colin McRae, while Burns sees his lead over Gronholm shrink by two points. Petter Solberg's consistency puts him equal sixth with Markko Martin and within four points of Sebastien Loeb and Colin McRae, the pair currently tied for fourth in the championship.

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