Peugeot get their cars to the finish

Peugeot get their cars to the finishFrom Peugeot Press [ 01/05/2005 ].
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Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm has been able to rise to the magnificent challenge of moving from the bottom of the field to third place overall on the Rally d'Italia-Sardinia. On a tense final day, he pressured the Mitsubishi of his key rival Harri Rovanpera into making a mistake. The other Peugeot 307WRC of Markko Martin finished just behind in fourth, crowning an excellent day for Peugeot. This result means that Peugeot has maintained its lead of the constructors championship, with an 11-point gap to Citroen.

Marcus Gronholm left Parc Ferme in Olbia this morning for the final leg of the Rally d'Italia-Sardinia in fifth overall. He had just 66 competitive kilometres, split into two loops of three stages, to reach a podium finish. On the first stage of the day, Rovanpera resisted and took three seconds out of Marcus. But on the day's second stage the former Peugeot driver was caught out, breaking his front suspension. He reached the end of the stage but was forced to retire shortly afterwards. Marcus and Markko were able to drive to an impeccable finish with no further problems.

Marcus Gronholm: "I really wasn't sure if I would be able to pass Harri, especially when I saw that he was fast on the first stage today. I thought my only chance would be to keep him under pressure, and this tactic must have worked because he went off on the following stage. It's been a tough rally – maybe the toughest of the year – but the car has once more been perfectly reliable which is very encouraging. Now I would like to find a bit more speed."

Markko Martin: "There was not a lot I could do today apart from try and drive safely to the finish. That still required the maximum concentration, because the conditions and the stages were extremely difficult. But I've learnt a lot on this event about the car and the tyres, which will be very useful for the three rough and hot rallies coming up in Cyprus, Turkey and Greece."

Jean-Pierre Nicolas: "It's been a good rally for Peugeot in the constructors championship, we score 11 points and stay in the lead with an 11-point advantage over Citroen and 18 over Subaru. The big satisfaction is that we've not had the slightest problem with either of the cars. The pairing of Loeb and Citroen were untouchable here, but without his roll on day one Marcus could have finished second. It's clear that we have to continue to work hard in order to give our drivers a car to their complete satisfaction, and we especially have to continue our close collaboration with Pirelli in order to put ourselves in a position to win rallies."