WRC RALLYES - Rallye Finnland : Loeb settles for second
WRC RALLYES - Rallye Finnland : Loeb settles for second
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has admitted that he's almost certainly given up any hope of beating Marcus Gronholm on this weekend's Neste Rally Finland. The reigning champion - who is bidding for his seventh win in a row this year - is currently 14.8 seconds behind Gronholm after losing time on this morning's first three stages.
Loeb and his Citroen team have traditionally struggled on the fast forest stages around the host town of Jyvaskyla, whereas Gronholm and Peugeot have won the event in four of the last five years. Loeb admitted that he is now just focused on getting the eight points for second, which would boost Citroen's bid to win the manufacturers' title and beat sister company and close rival Peugeot.
"I'm quite happy with how things went this morning," Loeb said. "I expected us to lose time on Ouninpohja. I knew Marcus would be quick as it's a very specialised stage. I wasn't happy with my choice of tyres, and I lost my rhythm slightly. Now I'm just concentrating on where we are and trying not to make any mistakes. The car is definitely improved over last year, but I don't expect to chase Marcus."
Gronholm is convinced, however, that anything can happen on the remaining nine stages of the rally and has admitted to slowing down on some of Finland's bigger jumps following the incident yesterday which left co-driver Timo Rautiainen severely winded. "I'm not maximum, maximum," Gronholm said. "Every time over a jump, Timo is making strange noises. We chose a hard tyre , which was definitely the right move, but everything is still wide open."
copyright wrc - ISC Ltd, London 2005 photo: automobilsport
Neste Rallye Finnland leader Marcus Gronholm fought back to regain his overnight advantage on SS11, with the fastest time on the first of two runs through the 14.13km Ouninpohja Lansi test. The Finn, who saw his lead cut to just 2.3 seconds after the first of today's eight stages, built that back to weiter >>
Reigning champion Sebastien Loeb took a big chunk out of Marcus Gronholm's narrow Neste Rally Finland lead on the first stage of the second leg, topping the times from the Peugeot ace by 3.5 seconds to cut his overall advantage down to just 2.3s. Subaru's Petter Solberg had a poor start to the day, 21 seconds off the pace.
Conditions on the stages around Jyvaskyla are muc weiter >>
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Reigning champion Sebastien Loeb took his second stage win of this weekend's Neste Rally Finland to keep overall leader Marcus Gronholm in his sights. The second run through the 13.96km Mokkipera test saw the Frenchman pip the two factory Peugeot 307s of Gronholm and Markko Martin by just 0.3 and 0.5 weiter >>
Just as it looked as though Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm had settled into a stage-winning rhythm on Neste Rally Finland, the Finn had a conservative run through the 13.96km Mokkipera test as his co-driver, Timo Rautianen, suffered back pains after a hefty landing on one of Finland's many bumps and weiter >>
Flying Finn Marcus Gronholm set his third consecutive fastest time on today's opening leg of the Neste Rally Finland to consolidate his overall lead on the fast forest event. The local hero set a time on the second longest stage of the rally - the 33.84km run through Vellipohja - that was a full 3.8 seconds faster than his closest rival.
The only man to have consistently weiter >>
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm narrowly extended his overall advantage on Neste Rally Finland, pipping Citroen's reigning champion Sebastien Loeb to the top time on today's third stage, the 7.57km run through Ruuhimaki. The double world champion's overall lead now stands at 4.5 seconds as the cars head to the morning service break.
Third fastest on the stage was Petter Solberg weiter >>
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Citroen ace Loeb was second on the stage and retains second weiter >>
Der amtierende Weltmeister und Titelfavorit Sebastian Loeb konnte sich heute bei der ersten WP der Neste Finland Rally klar durchsetzen in dem er Marcus Gronholms mit einer super WP-Zeit auf der 24,86km langen Lankamaa und übernahm so die Führung vom Leader Petter Solberg, der gestern abend klar vorlag.
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Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm has boosted his hopes of adding a fifth Neste Rally Finland win to his four from the last five year by topping today's final shakedown run for the event. The Finn led the way on the short Laajavuori test on the outskirts of host town Jyvaskyla as he bids to give Peugeot its first win of the year.
Gronholm, the reigning event champion, is one of t weiter >>