Gronholm left angered

Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm has blamed the absence of team gravel crews for his first corner accident on the first stage of this weekend's Rally Deutschland which forced him out of the event

Gronholm left angered

The Finn, who notched up his first win of the season two weeks ago at Rally Finland, slid off the road on a damp patch on the first corner of the opening stage.

Gravel crews used to run through the stages ahead of the cars to note any potential problems on the route. But the crews have now been banned and teams are forced to use official notes made by the event organisers. Gronholm believes his crew would have spotted the hazard and warned him about it in advance.

"Unfortunately, I slid off and retired on the very first corner of stage one," he said. "There was nothing I could do about it. We braked normally for the left-hand corner, but there was a patch of standing water and we just aquaplaned off. The impact broke a wheel hub, and we were out.

"If we still had gravel crews, maybe they could have warned us about the hazard, but as it is, we were passengers from the moment we touched the brakes. The car is not too badly damaged, so I think we will be starting again under the SupeRally rules tomorrow."

The SupeRally system allows retired drivers to resume the rally but will not be allowed to score any points from the event.

Gronholm is currently lying in joint-third place with Ford's Markko Martin in the drivers championship on 42 points.

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