Day 1: Gronholm vaults ahead

Marcus Gronholm and the Peugeot team will come away from the first day of the Cyprus Rally in good humour and in the lead. The Finn took control of the event during the afternoon stages, leaving colleagues Harry Rovanpera and Gilles Panizzi in second and fourth

Day 1: Gronholm vaults ahead

Gronholm went into the after-lunch stage in fifth place after the usual difficult morning on gravel, but was within a second of winner Rovanpera over the short Kato Amiantos test. This took him past the Subaru pair of Solberg and Makinen, but still behind the impressive Panizzi.

On stage four, the 38km Lagoudera Spilia, heavy rain fell and things took a turn for the worse for hopeful Marcus-beaters. The Finn flew through in 34m30.3s, a time that only Sebastian Loeb of Citroen would get near. Thus Gronholm was back at home in first place.

Rovanpera dropped time to Panizzi and Solberg but hung on to second. Solberg goes into the overnight halt in third place, with Panizzi back in fourth.

Whilst one Subaru has run well, it all went wobbly for the unfortunate Tommi Makinen on SS4. This time it was steering trouble: not terminal, but it cost him over ten minutes.

Loeb's stage four time, just 1.5 seconds off Gronholm, was one of those Sebastien specials that come with no warning. This one even included a spin. Typically, this is his first experience of Cyprus. He's 5th in the overall standings, 40 seconds down, but must be considered a man to watch.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz had a bad start to this rally, but improved to 9th overall during the afternoon, finishing ten seconds back (a relatively good time) on Lagoudera Spilia. Colin McCrae, in the third Citroen, lies sixth.

Burns had a terrible run through stage four and seems to be out of contention for this event already. The ever-popular "hydraulic problems" have been reported by the British Peugeot driver.

Ford just aren't living up to the hype. Marko Martin had major hydraulic difficulties throughout the afternoon and lies 1m22s down in 7th, four places in front of team-mate Duval.

"We had to use the manual gearchange and we had no diffs," reported Martin. "That made it difficult to drive especially on these twisty stages. Because we're using the manual shift we had no handbrake too, so I had remember some old Scandinavian flicks to get round the tight corners."

Less than fifteen seconds cover the top four, but the battle may be for second tomorrow if, as seems likely, Gronholm goes forwards and Panizzi goes backwards.




shares
comments
Taking the rough with the smooth

Previous article

Taking the rough with the smooth

Next article

Day 2, am: Gremlins strike

Day 2, am: Gremlins strike
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021