BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Motorsport: World Rally  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Statistics
Formula One
World Rally
Motorbikes
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 14:55 GMT
Gronholm in control
Marcus Gronholm on the Rally of Sweden
Gronholm is exerting his authority

World champion Marcus Gronholm has stamped his authority on the Rally of Sweden by inching away into a comfortable lead at the end of the event's penultimate day.

After dropping a handful of seconds to fellow Finn Tommi Makinen on the first of Saturday's stages, Gronholm won three consecutive stages to ease away from the field.

Gronholm took the ninth, 10th and 11th stages to extend his advantage over Makinen's Subaru to 39.8 seconds with one stage to run on Saturday, the penultimate day of the event.

The Peugeot star added a quarter of a minute to his advantage with his peerless progress on the following runs after the cancellation of the eight stage following an accident.

Tommi Makinen
Makinen is determined to put up a fight
Subaru driver Makinen had cut his fellow Finn's lead to 25 seconds after the first stage of the day, but could do nothing to prevent Gronholm easing clear.

Makinen managed to claw back a second on the final, short spectator stage, but Gronholm remains in control and his first win of the year is within his grasp.

The day was disrupted when works Peugeot driver Harri Rovanpera collided with the abandoned car of another Finn, Juuso Pykalisto, who had rolled on the eighth stage.

The crashed cars blocked the route, meaning racing could not continue.

As a result of Rovanpera's retirement, the third Peugeot of Englishman Richard Burns is now in a comfortable third place, although he is more than a minute adrift of arch-rival Gronholm.

Burns had been under intense pressure from Rovanpera and appeared poised to lose his third position before the accident.

Markko Martin is fourth in a Ford, while Scot Colin McRae has moved up to fifth in his Citroen after an inspired comeback drive.

McRae dropped way down the leaderboard after two spins on Friday, but has set consistently fast times in his attempt to make up for his frustration.

Norway's Petter Solberg, Makinen's team-mate, is sixth.

World Rally Championship
This year's rallies:

TOP TEAMS AND DRIVERS

 
 
 
See also:

06 Feb 03 | World Rally
05 Feb 03 | World Rally
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more World Rally stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more World Rally stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales