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World champ scores for Peugeot
Marcus Grönholm scores for Peugeot in a dramatic Finnish world rally round
27 Aug 2001
By BRUCE NEWTON
WORLD CHAMPION Marcus Grönholm has scored his second home victory on the Rally Finland, the ninth round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship.
The Peugeot driver took over the lead Saturday morning and never surrendered it thereafter, despite challenges from teammate Harri Rovanperä and Subaru's Richard Burns.
Burns eventually finished runner-up to Grönholm after late suspension problems prevented Rovanperä from scoring a one-two for Peugeot. He claimed fourth, behind Ford's Colin McRae, who was the leading world title contender to finish on the rostrum.
McRae's third overall closed the gap between the Scot and world championship leader Tommi Mäkinen to six points, while Carlos Sainz also narrowed his deficit to the series top spot by scoring a point in sixth.
Makinen went out of the rally just a few kilometres into Friday's opening stage after hitting a tree stump.
"I don't think this result really puts me in the fight for the championship but it helps Peugeot a lot and we'll see what happens in New Zealand," said Grönholm after the rally finished.
"Harri was pushing hard of course, and Richard too, but when Harri had some problems yesterday I became a bit more comfortable. I feel a bit sorry for him today, because he deserved to finish on the podium."Burns was pleased with the result, blaming his lead road position on Saturday for hindering his performance: "It's been a lot better today - I've had a more flowing driving style and it's just clicked a bit more effectively.
"I said before the start I wanted to put in a good drive and get a podium finish, and we've done that.
Six points is good but we've still got half of Tommi Mäkinen's total, so I'm just taking each event as it comes."McRae had expected Burns to charge on the final day's first stage and when the Englishman took nearly six seconds from the Ford driver, he elected to settle for fourth and championship points.
McRae was handed an unexpected bonus on the final stage, though, when Rovanperä's problems promoted him to third overall.
"I only realised I was third when the cameraman asked me about it," he said. "We'd actually settled for fourth and some points and that would have been fine, but an extra point and a place on the podium is obviously a nice surprise.
"The point could come in useful by the end of the season. I always knew Richard was going to go like hell this morning and he certainly did - but then, I had more to lose than he did.
"The championship is getting interesting but a lot depends on the new Mitsubishi, our car's pace on asphalt and how quick the Citroens go in Sanremo and Corsica."RALLY RESULTS
1 M Gronholm (Peugeot) 3hr23min12.8sec
2 R Burns (Subaru) +25sec
3 C McRae (Ford) +32.3sec
4 H Rovanpera (Peugeot) +33.9sec
5 Marko Martin (Subaru) +1min17.9sec
6 C Sainz +1min40.5sec
1 Tommi Mäkinen (FIN) 40
2 McRae (GB) 34
3 Sainz (E) 27
4 Rovanperä (FIN) 23
5 Burns (GB) 21
6 Grönholm (FIN) 14
7 Francois Delecour (F) 14
8 Didier Auriol (F) 10
1 Mitsubishi 66
2 Ford 66
3 Peugeot 39
4 Subaru 35
5 Skoda 15
6 Hyundai 10
Rally New Zealand, September 21-23
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