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WRC champion Marcus Gronholm set for rally return

Two-time world rally champion Marcus Gronholm is set to return to competition at the inaugural Mythical Cars Rally later this year.

Marcus Gronholm

Gronholm is set to pilot a 2008 specification Subaru Impreza at the brand new event held in Varzi, northern Italy from 24-27 May, which is open to Group A machinery from 1994 through to the World Rally Car era that ended in 2021.

It has also been confirmed that Gronholm will be reunited with co-driver Timo Rautiainen, who helped guide the Finn to his two WRC titles in 2000 and 2002 with Peugeot, for the seven-stage asphalt event.

The rally will also be Gronholm's first competitive appearance since Rally Sweden in 2019, where he and Rautiainen drove a Toyota Yaris WRC car.

Gronholm has remained connected with rallying since his retirement and plays an active role in managing 2022 WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm and aspiring WRC star Jari Huttunen, alongside his rallycross racing son Niclas.

"It was really nice to have this offer from Andrea [Adamo, Logiman Mythical Cars Rally advisor]. It's been a while since I was driving – I don't remember the last time, I think it was Sweden [in 2019]," said Gronholm.

"The priority for me is to have some fun – nothing more. I don't want people to start expecting the big result or a big push from me. I'm not coming back to be world champion and I won't drive like an idiot. I will just enjoy the drive and the atmosphere around this event.

"I understand there will be a lot of fans in the town and out on the stages – I will try to entertain them and have a good time with them.

Petter Solberg, Subaru Impreza WRC

Petter Solberg, Subaru Impreza WRC

Photo by: Sutton Images

"This is the main thing for me. Driving the Subaru is maybe a good plan from Andrea; OK I have some history with this car, but not so big a history. If I was driving the [Peugeot] 206 WRC, then maybe I would be tempted to think it was 2002 again and I could push like hell."

Gronholm has previously driven the 2008 Impreza - the last iteration of the Impreza run by the factory Subaru WRC team - in a selection of events including WRC Rally Portugal in 2009.

The car was largely developed by Markko Martin, who was Subaru's official test driver, while Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson piloted the Impreza in WRC events in 2008.

After retiring from the sport, Martin has been a long-time mentor and business partner of 2019 world champion and current M-Sport star Ott Tanak.

Although this week, Tanak confirmed that this partnership has now ended.

"My long-time mentor Markko Martin has decided to take new challenges in his life," said Tanak in a social media post.

"It's been an incredible journey together with him through all these years in the WRC. He's always been able to see things in a different perspective and helped me to do big decisions.

"I'm forever grateful for everything he's done for me. All the best for the future."

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