World Rally News

Gronholm's Greek Triumph


Acropolis Rally of Greece, 3-5 August 2007
Round 9 (of 16 ) World Rally Championship

Gronholm Cruises to Greece Win

Marcus Gronholm extended his lead in the World Rally Championship to nine points over Sebastien Loeb with a comfortable victory in Rally Greece.

The Ford driver was unchallenged throughout the second half of the event, and he was able to control his pace on the final day of the rally to make sure that he maintained his advantage over the reigning world champion, who finished second for Citroen.

"It has been OK," he said. "I was not pushing, I just had to finish. We followed Sebastien's pace today."

Loeb took a comfortable second place as Petter Solberg's challenge weakened as the rally went on.

However, the 2003 champion was happy to finish on the podium, after a weekend where both Subarus have shown that they have genuine pace.

"Now it's party time," said Solberg. "We tried to slow down to the finish. There was a serious gap to Sebastien, but we are happy with a podium."

Mikko Hirvonen had to settle for fourth place after the Finn lost ground on Saturday due to a broken windscreen, while Henning Solberg made sure that there were three Fords in the top five.

Chris Atkinson had led the rally briefly on Friday, but the Australian driver suffered several punctures throughout the weekend and he had fallen out of contention for a top result when he suffered serious damage to the front of his car on Saturday.

The second Subaru came home in the points with a sixth place finish, though, ahead of Jan Kopecky, who took advantage of other drivers' problems to get up to seventh.

Manfred Stohl had made it clear before the rally that he would try to stay out of trouble to score points, but his rally was not without drama, and he was only able to score a single point with eighth place.

Guy Wilks won the battle of the British drivers, as he took his Ford Focus to ninth place, 46 seconds ahead of Matthew Wilson. Mark Higgins finished 18th overall and was 4th in Group N in his Mitsubishi Lancer. Stuart Jones failed to finish in his Mitsubishi Lancer

( Report courtesy of )

Final positions:
1. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen (Ford Focus RS) 3hr 49min 22.6sec
2. S Loeb/D Elena (Citroen C4) 3hr 50min 01.2sec
3. P Solberg/P Mills (Subaru Impreza) 3hr 50min 56.7sec
4. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen (Ford Focus RS) 3hr 52min 03.9sec
5. H Solberg/C Menkerud (Ford Focus RS) 3hr 54min 15.3sec
6. C Atkinson/ S Prévot (Subaru Impreza) 3hr 55min 54.3sec
7. J Kopecky/F Schovanek (Skoda Fabia) 3hr 57min 38.4sec
8. M Stohl/I Minor (Citroen Xsara) 3hr 58min 18.8sec
9. G Wilks/P Pugh (Ford Focus RS) 3hr 59min 15.8sec
10 M Wilson/M Orr (Ford Focus RS) 4hr 00min 02.2sec

WRC Drivers:
1. M Grönholm 65pts
2. S Loeb 56pts
3. M Hirvonen 49pts
4. D Sordo 28pts
5. P Solberg 26pts
6. H Solberg 24pts

1. BP-Ford 114 pts
2. Citroen Total 86 pts
3. Subaru 43 pts
4. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford 41 pts
5. OMV Kronos Citroen 27 pts
6. Munchi's Ford 1 pt