Official FIA Press Release
Sunday, 26 August 2001
Marcus Grönholm has scored his second home victory on the Rally Finland,
the ninth round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship. The
Peugeot driver took over the lead yesterday morning and never surrendered
it thereafter, despite challenges from team-mate Harri Rovanperä and
Richard Burns. Burns eventually finished runner-up to Grönholm after
late suspension problems prevented Rovanperä from scoring a one-two
for Peugeot. He claimed fourth, behind Ford's Colin McRae, who was
the leading world title contender. McRae's third overall closed the
gap between the Scot and world championship leader Tommi Mäkinen to
six points, while Carlos Sainz also narrowed his deficit to the series
top spot by scoring a point in sixth.
Today's three long stages were again held in dry, sunny conditions,
and none of the leading protagonists hit enough trouble to force
retirement. But two of the fancied privateer crews - Juuso Pykalisto
and Raphael Sperrer - crashed out at the same corner.
Technical: Marcus Grönholm suffered ATS mousse break-ups in the front
tyres of his Peugeot on this morning's long opening stage but otherwise
the reigning world champion's 206 performed reliably. Harri Rovanperä
was not so fortunate - he lost time when he clipped a rock on the
first stage and broke a valve in a tyre. Then on the penultimate stage,
he again suffered from an oil leak in a damper and as the problem
worsened, he had to ease off considerably to ensure a finish.
Sporting: Peugeot had told its drivers to take no risks and make sure
of a maximum points haul in the manufacturers' series, so Marcus Grönholm
started today's tests confident that team-mate Harri Rovanperä would
pose no serious threat. The reigning world champion duly rattled off
the three stages to score his first win since Australia last November.
Harri Rovanperä expected to have to settle for second today but damper
problems and a broken valve on his tyre eventually dropped him to fourth
by the finish.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: "There has been a bit more of a fight
this year but at the same time, I've never really felt under big
pressure. Harri was pushing hard of course, and Richard too, but when
Harri had some problems yesterday I became a bit more comfortable. I
feel a bit sorry for him today, because he deserved to finish on the
podium. I don't think this result really puts me in the fight for
the championship but it helps Peugeot a lot and we'll see what happens
in New Zealand."
Harri Rovanpera said: "I saw the oil coming out of the damper on the
stage before the last and I had to back off because if I'd broken it
completely, I could have retired. Of course I'm disappointed because
I wanted to fight and at least keep second place, but it gives me
even more determination for next year."
Team Peugeot Total Director Corrado Provera said: "We are delighted
for Marcus and Timo, and feel very sorry for Harri and Risto
But our main aim is still the manufacturers' championship and in that we
have moved up to third. The improved efficiency and performance here
gives us improved optimism for New Zealand next month. In Harri we
have discovered a new Finnish diamond after Marcus and it is almost
certain that he will be with us again next year, and hopefully for a
long time after that."
Technical: Apart from a vibration on the penultimate stage after he
clipped a stone, Richard Burns's Impreza WRC2001 has been reliable
today. Petter Solberg's example has been troublefree, while Markko
Martin still felt his Subaru was down on power after he'd flattened
the exhaust yesterday.
Sporting: Richard Burns started today aiming to defend third place
from Colin McRae, but a fastest time on the day's first stage (and a
slow performance from Harri Rovanperä) gave the Englishman a chance
of second instead. Rovanperä's late suspension glitches allowed Burns
to claim the runners-up spot on the final stage. Markko Martin chose
too hard a tyre compound in the day's first stage and stalled at a
hairpin but he did enough to fend off Carlos Sainz and bag fifth.
Petter Solberg continued to gain experience and finished eighth,
scoring a single manufacturers' point for Subaru.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: "It's been a lot better today - I've had
a more flowing driving style and it's just clicked a bit more effectively.
Our road position yesterday hindered me more than I'd expected but I
said before the start I wanted to put in a good drive and get a podium
finish, and we've done that. Six points is good but we've still got
half of Tommi Mäkinen's total, so I'm just taking each event as it
Markko Martin said: "I'm happy to finish in the top six but to be
honest, it was better during the first day and yesterday morning.
Since then and my accident I've been making small mistakes and that's
annoyed me. But to come back to the championship after a little break
and score points is good."
Petter Solberg said: "This event is so hard to learn but I've been
very pleased by my speed in the sections that I've done before. It
was going much better today so I'm already confident and looking
forward to next year!"
Technical: Francois Delecour was forced to retire on the road section
from Jyvaskyla to first service this morning. His Focus WRC reported
a lack of fuel pressure, although the car's fuel gauge reported
sufficient petrol in the tank. Colin McRae's and Carlos Sainz's cars
were reliable throughout today's stages, though.
Sporting: Colin McRae expected Richard Burns to charge on the day's
first stage and when the Englishman took nearly six seconds from the
Ford driver, he elected to settle for fourth and championship points.
McRae was handed an unexpected bonus on the final stage, though, when
Rovanperä's problems promoted him to third overall. Carlos Sainz was
unable to close in on Markko Martin this morning, and the Spaniard had
to settle for sixth at the finish. François Delecour's day ended before
the first stage when his Focus lost fuel pressure less than three
kilometres away from first service.
Quotes: Colin McRae said: "I only realised I was third when the cameraman
asked me about it! We'd actually settled for fourth and some points
and that would have been fine, but an extra point and a place on
the podium is obviously a nice surprise. The point could come in
useful by the end of the season. I always knew Richard was going to
go like hell this morning and he certainly did - but then, I had
more to lose than he did. The championship is getting interesting
but a lot depends on the new Mitsubishi, our car's pace on asphalt
and how quick the Citroens go in Sanremo and Corsica."
Technical: A change of pedal box at last night's final service cured
the brake problems that had plagued Freddy Loix throughout yesterday's
stages. Toni Gardemeister, meanwhile, had to complete the day's longest
stage with an out-of-line right-rear wheel after he hit a rock. He
eventually crashed out on the final stage.
Sporting: Freddy Loix battled with Finn Pasi Hagstrom today, and the
pair inched into the top ten thanks to the retirement of Juuso Pykalisto
and Alister McRae's puncture. Toni Gardemeister had worked his way into
11th before he rolled out on the final stage.
Quotes: Freddy Loix said: "Today was better because at least I could
have confidence in the brakes but at the same time it's been a
frustrating event for us. We showed on the first day we could have
quite a good speed but then the problems took over. I hope we have
better luck in New Zealand."
Toni Gardemeister said: "I'm really disappointed, but the car went over
two or three times and everything was broken. All I can do is regroup
and do my best for the team in New Zealand."
Technical: Alister McRae had to stop and change a puncture after he
clipped a rock on this morning's first stage. But his Accent WRC2
performed reliably otherwise. Kenneth Eriksson complained of understeer
on the same test but suffered no major mechanical dramas.
Sporting: Alister McRae's first-stage puncture cost the Scot more
than three minutes and he dropped outside the top ten as a result.
Kenneth Eriksson, meanwhile, concentrated further on gaining extra
confidence with the Accent on the high-speed sections. He'd been
concerned by a number of fast 'moments' during the opening day.
Quotes: Alister McRae said: "The puncture was very frustrating but
what can you do? I saw the rock at the last minute and as soon as we
hit it I knew the tyre was going to go down. I've been fairly happy
with our speed here - we're a lot closer to the pace this year than
we were 12 months ago."
Technical: The Octavia WRCs of Bruno Thiry and Stig Blomqvist were
reliable today, but Armin Schwarz's example has suffered from shock
absorbers that went soft after 25km.
Sporting: Armin Schwarz's suspension problems meant he was unable to
bring his Octavia any closer to the top ten than 15th. The German had
almost fully recovered from his inner ear infection, although he did
feel extremely tired after sleeping badly during the last few nights.
Bruno Thiry concentrated on making small changes to his pacenotes in
preparation for future visits, while Stig Blomqvist won the 'battle
of the veterans' by being the only finisher (Markku Alen and Juha
Kankkunen both retired).
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: "The suspension getting soft has made
things very difficult today, because some of the roads have been
used twice and in the ruts it just bounced around."
Finnish privateer Juuso Pykalisto's promising run ended with an
accident on today's first stage, so the top non-works finisher was
Sebastian Lindholm (Peugeot). Pasi Hagstrom also scored a top ten
finish in his Corolla after fighting past Freddy Loix.
In the FIA Super 1600 Cup, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb maintained his
unbeaten record in the category by claiming another win in his Citroen
Saxo. Italian Andrea Dallavilla was second in a Fiat Punto, with Jussi
Valimaki bagging the final podium place in his Peugeot 206.
The Group N Class for more standard cars was turned on its head in SS19,
when category leader Jouni Ampuja retired with suspension problems
and his nearest challenger, Marko Ipatti crashed out. With fellow
Finn Jouko Puhakka damaging his oil tank after hitting a rock, Argentine
driver Marcos Ligato came through to score an unexpected win on one of
the most specialised rounds. Countryman Gabriel Pozzo was second in
his similar Mitsubishi.
UNOFFICIAL FINAL RESULTS
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 3:23:12,8
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 3:23:37,8
3 McRae Ford Focus WRC 3:23:45,1
4 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 3:23:46,7
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 3:24:30,7
6 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 3:24:53,3
7 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 3:25:52,4
8 Lindholm Peugeot 206 WRC 3:25:57,4
9 Hagstrom Toyota Corolla WRC 3:28:14,0
10 Loix Mitsubishi Carisma GT 3:28:18,2
1 Ligato Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:44:36,2
2 Pozzo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:45:25,6
3 Kuistila Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:45:59,8
1 Loeb Citroen Saxon 3:49:19,6
2 Dallavilla Fiat Punto 3:54:41,5
3 Valimaki Peugeot 206 3:57:13,0
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after 9 of 14 rounds)
FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers:
Mäkinen (FIN) 40
McRae (GB) 34
Sainz (E) 27
Rovanperä (FIN) 23
Burns (GB) 21
Grönholm (FIN) 14
Delecour (F) 14
Auriol (F) 10
FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers:
FIA World Cup for Drivers of Production Cars:
Pozzo (RA) 53
Trelles (ROU) 26
Ligato (RA) 22
Stohl (A) 12
Gillet (CH) 10
Walfridsson (S) 10
Da Silva 10
Blomqvist (S) 8
FIA Teams Cup (after 4 of 6 rounds, this event not counting):
Hagstrom (FIN) 20
Lundgaard (DK) 20
Bakhashab (SA) 13
Papadimitriou (GR) 8
FIA Super 1600 Cup (after 3 of 6 rounds):
Loeb (F) 30
Dallavilla (I) 14
Stenshorne (N) 7
SS19 - Burns, SS20 - Rovanpera, SS21 - Burns
SS21 Gardemeister Mitsubishi Carisma GT Accident
SS19 Delecour Ford Focus WRC Fuel Pressure
SS14 Passonen Ford Focus WRC Accident
SS16 Kannkunen Hyundai Accent WRC Lack of brakes
SS13 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC Suspension failure
SS1 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Hit stump
SS 19, Moksi-Leustu 40.84 km
1st Car: 09:53
Pos/ Driver/ Car/ Time
1 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 20:52,2
2 McRae Ford Focus WRC 20:57,7
3 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 21:01,8
4 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 21:08,8
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 21:10,1
SS 20, Talviainen 2 30.30 km
1st Car: 12:11
Pos/ Driver/ Car/ Time
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 14:53,6
2 McRae Ford Focus WRC 14:57,2
3 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 14:57,6
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 14:59,7
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 15:01,3
SS 21, Ouninpohja 2 25.20 km
1st Car: 13:39
Pos/ Driver/ Car/ Time
1 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 11:43,6
2 McRae Ford Focus WRC 11:44,2
3 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 11:45,5
4 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 11:45,9
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 11:47,3