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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Gronholm grinds out win
Marcus Gronholm battles on the Argentine tracks
Gronholm wins his third rally of the season in Argentina

World champion Marcus Gronholm came through three chaotic days to win the Rally of Argentina on Sunday.

The Finn finished the final stage 26.6 seconds ahead of Citroen's Carlos Sainz while championship leader Richard Burns settled for third.

Gronholm knows what bad luck is in Argentina - he won the event last year only to be disqualified for technical infringements along with Burns.

And he had to battle back from an accident on Friday and was not able to make up time after Saturday's special 14th and 15th stages were cancelled for safety reasons.

The Finn started the day 15 seconds adrift of overnight leader Markko Martin and he admitted he thought his chance had gone for another year.

"When I went off on the first day and lost a wheel I really didn't expect to win this rally," he said.

"Of course you always try to fight back and, thanks to some bad luck for other drivers, I was able to get back into the lead and win.

We must be happy to have finished on the podium
Richard Burns

"But I won't rest until the scrutineers have checked my car and confirmed everything is okay."

Luck was on Gronholm's side as Martin pulled out of the final day when his Ford Focus ground to a halt after suffering an oil pressure problem.

Four-times world champion Tommi Makinen also withdrew from the event after he had failed to get his Subaru into a challenging position.

Sainz was hit with a one-minute penalty on Saturday after entering the control zone earlier than allowed.

And then Gronholm's Peugeot team-mate Burns lost more than 40 seconds on his final run when his Peugeot developed a turbo problem.

In contrast the Finn had an easy run and his second successive victory saw him close the gap on Burns to just two points.

"We had enjoyed a good battle with Carlos today and were on course to finish second," said Burns.

"But these things happen in rallying and we must be happy to have finished on the podium."

BBC Sport's Greg Strange
"A brilliant victory for Gronholm"




Sainz leads in Argentina
09 May 03  |  World Rally
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