Nicolas: Gronholm Free to Retire

Peugeot boss Jean-Pierre Nicolas said he would have respected Timo Rautiainen if he had decided to retire from the Rally Finland after injuring his back on SS5

Nicolas: Gronholm Free to Retire

Rautiainen, Marcus Gronholm's co-driver, sustained the injury after the Peugeot 307 WRC landed heavily after one of Finland's notorious jumps on SS5, the new 33-km stage of Vellipohja.

Physios passed Rautiainen fit later after giving him an anti-inflammatory injection and some strapping round his back.

"We had half an hour to check at Service before he needed to go out again," said Nicolas. "It was Timo's decision to carry on. If he had decided not to, we would have respected that decision. The doctors said he was physically ok, we are just glad he's gone on. We will study him further overnight."

Rautiainen was unable to read pace notes out to Gronholm after the accident, which occurred aroudn 14 kms from the end of the stage. Despite this, the pair were fastest on the stage.

Gronholm said: "I could see he was in trouble and in a lot of pain. He was struggling but managing to show me with hand signals where the road was going.

"I had to back off a little bit over the jumps on the next three stages because I was thinking about Timo's back. I was sure we would have to stop."

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