Gronholm wins Cyprus Rally for Peugeot
2004 Cyprus Rally
FIA World Rally Championship, round 5 of 16
For immediate release
Sunday, May 16th, 2004
FINLAND'S GRONHOLM GIVES PEUGEOT
307 FIRST VICTORY IN CYPRUS RALLY
Second place for CitroŽn's Loeb; Ford's Martin in third place; Mitsubishis out with engine problems
LIMASSOL (Cyprus): Finland's Marcus GrŲnholm and Timo Rautiainen won the Cyprus Rally by 54 seconds and gave the Marlboro Peugeot Total team its first ever win with the Peugeot 307 on this fifth round of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship. The 2001 World Rally Champion duly moved into the outright lead in the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers.
GrŲnholm began Sunday's final six special stages with a 22.9 second advantage over CitroŽn's Sebasten Loeb and virtually doubled his lead over the opening 25 kms section between Vavatsinia and Mandra Kambiou. He beat the Frenchman by 17.5 seconds and continued to edge away over the first loop of stages to begin the final loop 42.6 seconds in front.
~Everything was perfect today with the car,~ said GrŲnholm. ~I am very happy. It was important for me and for the team to take this result with the new car.~
Estonian Markko Martin began the day in third overall in the sole-surviving Ford Focus and the Mexico Rally winner consolidated his position over the closing stages to take the final podium place behind Loeb, despite losing transmission oil on the 16th stage.
Tyre choice problems cost Spaniard Carlos Sainz time on day two and the second CitroŽn driver eventually finished fourth overall, ahead of Finland's Harri Rovanperš, who was dogged by persistent transmission problems in the second Peugeot 307.
Last year's Cyprus Rally winner Petter Solberg climbed through the field from first day delays to take sixth position and three championship points in a Prodrive-built Subaru Impreza WRC 04. Finnish team mate Mikko Hirvonen finished seventh in the second factory Subaru, despite losing the power steering on the 13th stage. Finland's Janne Tuohino, Britain's Alistair Ginley and Portugal's Miguel Campos completed the top 10.
Cypriot Andreas Tsouloftas began the final day as the leading local driver in 11th position at the wheel of a Group A Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6 and consolidated his advantage over the closing stages. ~The car was perfect for the whole rally,~ said the multiple Cyprus National Champion. ~The only problem was the caliper I lost on Saturday. Now I will go to Jordan next week and win the Jordan Rally!~
Cypriot Yiotis Hartoupalos lost the Group N category in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6 in the unlucky 13th stage with rear driveshaft failure. This handed victory to England-based Cypriot Chris Armeftis and Marlos Constantinou in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7.
The factory Mitsubishis of Finland's Kristian Sohlberg and Frenchman Gilles Panizzi succumbed to engine problems on Saturday and Ford's Francois Duval was sidelined on the very first stage when his Focus shed a wheel. Sunday's major casualty was Henning Solberg, who retired his Peugeot 206 at the start of the 17th stage with ECU problems.
The next round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes place in Greece at the start of June.
2004 Cyprus Rally - final positions after SS18 (top 8 only):
1. Marcus GrŲnholm (FIN)/Timo Rautiainen (FIN) Peugeot 307 4h 58m 44.5s
2. Sebastien Loeb (F)/Daniel Elena (F) CitroŽn Xsara 4h 59m 38.5s
3. Markko Martin (EE)/Michael Park (GB) Ford Focus RS WRC 04 4h 59m 53.6s
4. Carlos Sainz (E)/Marc Marti (E) CitroŽn Xsara 5h 02m 02.5s
5. Harri Rovanperš (FIN)/Risto Pietilainen (FIN) Peugeot 307 5h 05m 53.5s
6. Petter Solberg (N)/Phil Mills (GB) Subaru Impreza WRC 2004 5h 09m 07.6s
7. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) Subaru Impreza WRC 2004 5h 09m 19.4s
8. Janne Tuohino (FIN)/Jukka Aho (FIN) Ford Focus WRC 02 5h 12m 55.2s
2004 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers - positions after round 5 of 16 (unofficial):
1. Marcus GronhŲlm (FIN) 34 pts
2. Sebastien Loeb (F) 33 pts
3. Markko Martin (EE) 32 pts
4. Petter Solberg (N) 26 pts
5. Carlos Sainz (E) 18 pts
6. Francois Duval (B) 14 pts, etc
2004 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers - positions after round 5 of 16 (unofficial):
1. Ford 53 pts
2. CitroŽn 51 pts
3. Peugeot 47 pts
4. Subaru 36 pts
5. Mitsubishi 5 pts
For further media information:
2004 Cyprus International Rally Press Office, Media Centre, Limassol,
Tel: + 357 25873962, Fax: + 357 25716593,
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com