Leg 3am: Gronholm cruising home

Marcus Gronholm cruised his way through the first three stages of the final leg of Rally Finland comfortable in the knowledge that only a massive slice of back luck can deny him victory on his home event

Leg 3am: Gronholm cruising home

The only driver who has any chance of catching the Finn is Richard Burns and the Englishman started the day in the only way he could: by setting the fastest time on the opening stage. He was quicker than his team-mate on the next stage too, but despite his efforts he had taken just over four seconds off Gronholm.

On the third stage the Finn was actually fractions quicker than Burns, and the Englishman knows he needs a miracle if he's to win this event for the first time.

With Colin McRae secure in third, the best battle is for fourth, where Petter Solberg and Carlos Sainz are fighting tooth and nail, with Markko Martin holding a watching brief.

Sainz started the day in fourth and increased his advantage through SS17 and SS18. However, the Spaniard jumped the start of SS18 and was handed a 10-second penalty.

Solberg responded magnificently by setting the fastest time on SS19 - 3.7s quicker than Sainz - and overhauled the Ford to grab fourth. Martin set top six times in all three stages and is less than 20 seconds behind the sparring pair.

Tommi Makinen is a five-time winner of the event, but this year the Finn has shown none of his usual flair as he battles with a Subaru Impreza he feels is down-on-power. He's currently seventh overall, over a minute behind Martin in the final points-scoring position.

The luckless Alister McRae's Rally finally ended on SS18 with damaged rear suspension on his revised Mitsubishi Lancer.

shares
comments
Leg 2: Gronholm in control

Previous article

Leg 2: Gronholm in control

Next article

Finland: Victory for Gronholm

Finland: Victory for Gronholm
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021