Gronholm keeps rival Burns at bay

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Marcus Gronholm set the early pace in the Rally of Finland yesterday as the Peugeot driver won the first five stages of the opening leg.

Marcus Gronholm set the early pace in the Rally of Finland yesterday as the Peugeot driver won the first five stages of the opening leg.

Gronholm dominated the field in dry conditions to open up an 8.8 second gap on the championship leader Richard Burns as the leading pair moved clear. "The car is working well but the roads are very slippery," the Finn said. "I almost slipped into a ditch on the fifth stage."

Britain's Burns, who has failed to score points in the last two rallies, was second fastest on each run but admitted that being first on the road was becoming increasingly difficult.

"It wasn't too bad on the first couple of stages," Burns said, "but there's a lot of loose dust and I'm cleaning the road for others. I hope it gets better."

Another Finn, Harri Rovanpera, driving a privately entered Toyota Corolla WRC, showed a fine knowledge of his local roads as he finished the fifth stage in third place, 15.3 seconds adrift of the lead.

Norway's Petter Solberg led the Ford challenge in fourth spot, ahead of his fifth-placed team-mate Colin McRae, but the Spaniard Carlos Sainz was forced well down the field after losing more than five minutes with engine problems.

Comments