From Peugeot Press [ 12/03/2005 ].
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Warm and sunny weather greeted the drivers at the start of leg two of Rally Mexico, which once more consisted of two loops of three stages with central service in Leon. The total competitive distance comprised 147.2 kilometres to the east of the city, with the stages today characterised by loose gravel and tight corners.
On the first loop of stages, the Peugeot drivers underlined their strong performance on the opening leg. Marcus Gronholm closed to within 16 seconds of the leader Petter Solberg by setting fastest time on SS8. This stage featured a tough uphill climb, which peaked at a summit of 2500 metres – proving the strength and power of the Peugeot 307 WRC's engine.
Markko Martin go the better of his battle with Citroen driver Francois Duval, pulling out an advantage of 24 seconds. On the second loop of stages the Peugeot drivers consolidated their positions, mindful of team orders to get to the finish at all costs.
Marcus Gronholm: "In order to solve our recurring brake problems, the team asked us to change brake pads after every stage – so this has been quite a busy day for me! Nonetheless, this solution worked well, and today I felt a lot more confident than I did on the opening leg. This rally has been a lot trickier than it was last year, as the surfaces are so much harder which puts a bigger demand on the car. I think everybody has had a few problems today, so to still be here is the main thing. Tomorrow my plan is to consolidate my second place and hopefully we can finish with two cars on the podium."
Markko Martin: "We did not have as many brake problems as Marcus, so we were not changing the pads after every stage. We had to keep an eye on Francois Duval, but after he retired the pressure was off us. We will be very happy to finish third tomorrow – there's no way we can challenge Marcus and there is not a big threat from behind. But we still have to keep concentrated – there is a long way to go and the last stage, which is 44 kilometres long, will be very tough."
Jean-Pierre Nicolas: "I'm very pleased that our drivers have followed our instructions to bring back two cars with the maximum number of constructor's championship points perfectly. Their performance clearly shows that they driving neatly within their potential and that of the 307WRC. Our goal now is to maintain these positions to the finish."