From Chris Biewer [ 30/09/2003 ].
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This week we will whitness the last Rally San Remo. It is a traditional, even though often criticised event in the WRC calendar since the existance of the WRC. However for next year the Italian event will move to the Costa Smeralda region on gravel stages that are mainly on military land, gravel stages that are reported to be more on the rough side and that as well from Harri Rovanperä – who competed on these stages 2 weeks ago – received a rather cool welcome. The San Remo had been won by Peugeot’s Gilles Panizzi in the past 3 years and Gilles hopes to add a 4th victory this time, helping Peugeot’s title bit as well as Peugeot is currently joint leader in the makes title race. We have some comments of Marcus Grönholm.
You are in the Rallye World championship before San Remo in 5th place. How do you believe are you title chances?
Marcus: “My title chances are still existant. However this year my title fight seems to be much more difficult, because I am behind and I have to attack permanently. In the past season I was lying in front and had a psychologic advantage.”
You have tested the 307 WRC. How was your impression?
Marcus: “The first impression of this car was very good. However the car feels bigger than our 206 WRC, I had to get used to that first. When the next tests are scheduled, I don’t know. The next weeks until the season’s end we are well busy with 4 WRC events.”
You do boxing training. How did it come to that?
Marcus: “I have started with this 2 ½ years ago. It’s a lot of fun. It helps me to get fit when I am tired. You have to be concentrated and control the movements, the pulse is raised. This all helps for the fitness inside the rally car.”
Where do you see your strength in the coming 3 asphalt events?
Marcus: “In San Remo there should be a good result possible for me, because the slippy and bumpy stages suit me very well. Corsica usually went quite well for me in the past years as well. The Catalunya Rallye I personally don’t like so much, because there is a lot of cutting. That means in the curves you drive off the road and a lot of dirt is carried onto the tarmac. As well the roads in Spain are very wide, there a perfect line is decisive.”
What do you think about the new rules that are valid from 2004?
Marcus: “I personally don’t like the new rules at all. The recce and the schedule of the rallies should stay as they have been so far, as it is a well proven way. The new ‘Mille Pistes’ concept with the recce of the stages in the morning and the competition in the afternoon makes the work especially for the navigators unreasonably more difficult.”