Gronholm blames spectators

Snow thrown onto the road by spectators caused the crash that nearly ended Marcus Gronholm's Monte Carlo Rally, according to the former champion

Gronholm blames spectators

Gronholm's Peugeot 307 lost a wheel in the SS12 incident, but the Finn was able to coax his car through the rest of the stage and back to the service area. He lost five minutes and dropped from second to fifth place, but can at least continue for the final three stages.

"Once again it was that Col," said Gronholm. "The spectators had thrown snow on the road.

"Everybody knows they do that. I know they do that. But when I came and saw the snow it was already too late."

Gronholm had been battling to stay ahead of early morning pacesetter Petter Solberg, who also went off at the same spot. The Subaru driver was unable to keep going and is out of the rally.

"Just before I went off I saw another wheel, not mine but Petter's," said Gronholm. "He'd already been off there."

The Peugeot driver was surprised to be able to reach the service area given the damage to his 307. As well as the final 19km of SS12, Gronholm had also had to cope with a 44km road section.

"When the wheel came off I was sure it was over," he said. "But we drove 19km and the road section and got here.

"Now everything should be okay, but it's a big shame because second was looking good."

That second place is now occupied by Ford's Toni Gardemeister, with Mitsubishi star Gilles Panizzi close behind. Gronholm will resume in fifth place but 2m35s behind his Peugeot team-mate Markko Martin in fourth.

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