Emotional victory for Michael Park

Emotional victory for Michael ParkFrom Peugeot Press [ 02/10/2005 ].
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Marcus Gronholm took the lead on the penultimate stage of the Rally Japan, after putting constant pressure on Petter Solberg, who went off. Marcus was on the attack from the very start, setting nine fastest stage times over the course of the event. His 18th career victory returns him to second place in this year’s title race, won by newly-crowned champion Sebastien Loeb. The other Peugeot 307 WRC of Daniel Carlsson has finished in eighth place, allowing Peugeot to consolidate their second place in the manufacturers championship.

Marcus Gronholm: “The most important thing for me is that this victory is in memory of Michael Park: we want it to be for him. We were pushing hard to the end and we were always close to the pace of Petter. Whether or not that was why he went off is something we will never know, but we were never far off him. It was a difficult rally: in some places we lost time because of incorrect tyre choices and we also had a couple of problems on the second day. Under the circumstances this was the best possible result we could have; it is very good for the team.”

Daniel Carlsson: “I’ve got one point at the end of this rally, which is a very emotional moment. I had no testing before the start of the event and just tried to do my best under very difficult circumstances. I struggled a bit with confidence sometimes but I learnt more with every kilometre and I’m very pleased to get to the finish and do what Peugeot asked of me.”

Jean-Pierre Nicolas: “This is the greatest gift that Marcus could give to the memory of Michael Park. Marcus never gave up and he is above all a fighter. He took 10 seconds back from Petter Solberg this morning, putting pressure on him before the final loop of stages. Petter went off and Marcus wins because he has always put himself in the situation to fight for victory. It’s undoubtedly his best-ever season, even if he’s not won the title in 2005. The end result of Rally Japan is perfect, with Daniel Carlsson finishing eighth and accomplishing the mission we set him: to get to the end of the event. We had no technical problems and it’s a fantastic team effort in the face of the disaster that hit us two weeks ago. It has been Peugeot’s most beautiful victory, which was celebrated by Guy Frequelin and his Citroen team who came over to congratulate us. I’d like to congratulate Sebastien Loeb and Citroen for the extraordinary season they have accomplished so far, and for Sebastien’s second driver’s title which he richly deserves.”