Gronholm Wins Rally Finland

Marcus Gronholm has taken his first victory of the season after winning his home event, the Rally Finland

Gronholm Wins Rally Finland

He was able to ease off on the final four stages of the rally to protect the comfortable lead of 1:07 he had over WRC points leader Sebastien Loeb at the start of the final leg.

Despite not winning a stage on the final leg, Gronholm only lost three tenths of a second to Loeb over the last four stages to take his fifth victory on the event.

Loeb, whose chances of victory were ruined by a puncture at the end of yesterday, extended his Championship lead over Petter Solberg to 29 points after his comfortable run to second. But Loeb didn't let up in his pursuit of victory and recorded the fastest time on SS19.

If results go his way, the Frenchman could wrap up his second successive WRC crown at September's Wales Rally GB, four rounds before the end of the season.

Marko Martin secured his fourth podium finish the season with third place, having finished in the points on every rally this season.

Petter Solberg had a stronger day in his Subaru Impreza to finish the event in fourth. After dropping down the order on the first leg due to an accident, the Norwegian climbed up through the field, holding off the charge of local driver Miko Hirvonen on today's final leg. He recorded the fastest time on the rally's final stage, SS 21, and edged out Hirvonen by 5.6 seconds.

Hirvonen impressed after being promoted to the full works squad for the first time this season, and his fifth place was the highest of any Ford Focus driver. He held the position after a battle with teammate Toni Gardemeister, with each driver securing a stage victory on the leg. Gardemeister had overhauled Mitsubishi's Harri Rovanpera on the first stage of the day, SS 18, the first running of the 7.76 km Kuohu stage.

Hirvonen eventually finished more than a minunte ahead of his teammate Gardemister, who has still not finished lower than sixth all season.

Rovanpera had a quiet run to seventh, with Citroen's Francois Duval securing his second consecutive points finish after his enforced two event lay-off with eighth.

Rally Finland results - top 20:

Pos Driver Make Time 1. Gronholm Peugeot 2h 54:11.0 2. Loeb Citroen + 1:06.7 3. Martin Peugeot + 1:35.6 4. Solberg Subaru + 2:08.0 5. Hirvonen Ford + 2:13.6 6. Gardemeister Ford + 3:32.4 7. Rovanpera Mitsubishi + 4:27.9 8. Duval Citroen + 5:10.4 9. Solberg Ford + 5:45.8 10. Tuohino Skoda + 6:42.3 11. Schwarz Skoda + 10:17.5 12. Pons Citroen + 10:44.1 13. Kuistila Mitsubishi + 20:35.1 14. Sordo Citroen + 26:06.8 15. Aava Suzuki + 27:39.4 16. Warmbold Ford + 28:02.1 17. Wilks Suzuki + 29:56.7 18. Betti Renault + 35:43.1 19. Kresta Ford + 38:09.6 20. Baldacci Fiat + 47:21.6 
shares
comments
Gronholm Nearing Home Win

Previous article

Gronholm Nearing Home Win

Next article

Subaru Unveil 2006 Prototype

Subaru Unveil 2006 Prototype
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Author Tim Redmayne
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021