Gronholm Charges to Second

Marcus Gronholm demonstrated the sort of ability that took him to two World Rally Championship titles on the early stage of the Leg Two of the Rally Argentina, moving up to second place in the event

Gronholm Charges to Second

The Finn took three superb wins from the morning's four stages, slashing his deficit to rally leader Sebastien Loeb from 44.6 seconds to 25.2, and demoting Petter Solberg to third.

Solberg had come out of the blocks fighting and won the days first stagebut the Peugeot driver fought back to take the position by 1.3 seconds on SS14, the 21.4 km stage of Santa Rosa de Calamu.

While overnight it looked as if Citroen's Loeb would be able to cruise to his six successive victory - the battle is now on again with only 26.5 covering the leading trio.

Loeb was not backing off, appearing in the top three fastest on three occasions, however it will be interesting to see if the Frenchman attempts to keep pushing for the win or settle for a spot on the podium with his Championship credentials intact.

There is a large gap from the leading three to the battle for fourth, still being headed by Toni Gardemeister. The Ford driver is more than two minutes down on Loeb, but is performing well enough to keep ahead of the Mitsubishi of Harri Rovanpera and the Peugeot of Markko Martin.

Gardemesiter has pulled away slightly from Rovanpera, who is being closed in by Martin. The Estonian has narrowed the deficit to fifth from 23.6 seconds to 13.3 seconds.

Works Citroen driver Francois Duval has pulled out more space between him and privateer Citroen runner Manfred Stohl in the battle for seventh. Duval, returning to the WRC after his two-event enforced rest, finished runner-up on SS13, even beating teammate Loeb by 4.4 seconds on the 20.29km stage.

Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli restarted the event after his retirement yesterday, and put in some impressive stage times. The Italian was only 3.1 seconds down on Gronholm through SS13, recording the third fastest time. He now lies in 25th.

Top 20 after SS 14:

Pos  Driver        Make          Time
 1.  Loeb          Citroen       2h40:14.0
 2.  Gronholm      Peugeot       +    25.2
 3.  Solberg       Subaru        +    26.5
 4.  Gardemeister  Ford          +  2:19.5
 5.  Rovanpera     Mitsubishi    +  2:43.5
 6.  Martin        Peugeot       +  2:49.6
 7.  Duval         Citroen       +  4:00.9
 8.  Stohl         Citroen       +  4:22.5
 9.  Atkinson      Subaru        +  5:10.6
10.  Kresta        Ford          +  6:21.7
11.  Pons          Citroen       +  6:36.2
12.  Warmbold      Ford          +  6:51.4
13.  Ligato        Peugeot       + 11:05.8
14.  Perez         Ford          + 11:42.0
15.  Carlsson      Peugeot       + 15:44.0
16.  Al-Attiyah    Subaru        + 17:33.9
17.  Schwarz       Skoda         + 19:22.9
18.  Medeghini     Mitsubishi    + 20:21.7
19.  Trivino       Peugeot       + 20:23.3
20.  Higgins       Subaru        + 21:01.3
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