Posted by: wrcnf1 | February 28, 2009

Marcus Gronholm Returning to the WRC!

After retiring from the WRC at the end of the 2007 season after finishing second to Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm gets behind the wheel of a world rally car again in April for the Rally of Portugal. The surprising news is that Gronholm will not be returning with a blue oval badged Focus but with a Subaru run by the Prodrive team.

Gronholm’s car will be a modified version of the 2008 car used by Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson as Prodrive attempt to give Gronholm the most competitive spec car possible. Gronholm had a test with the car in Norway before accepting the offer  from Prodrive and has plans for further tests before the event which starts on April 5th.

While Gronholm has revealed that the event will be a one-off for him, however he has said to that “after the rally I have to analyze my feelings and to see what happens next.” This is good news for the sport as Gronholm is one of  rallying’s most interesting characters with his usual straight talking interviews and humour and lets not forget how long he goes without blinking when driving a stage. I think this is necessary for the WRC as it now has just two car manufacturers and a champion driver in Loeb who seems to be near impossible to beat.

Although Marcus has already said that he will be aiming for a win at the start as he wants to compare his speed to the regular drivers, the excitement that Gronholm will bring to Portugal will be enormous and he will possibly find it hard not to challenge for the win if he finds himself in a i position. Many factors will play a  part in his competitiveness and most of all would be Subaru that he will be driving. It has been revealed that the car will be fitted with Ohlins dampers for the event and Prodrive have stated that the car is an evolution of the 2008 car although they couldn’t homologate for 2009.

Should Prodrive provide a competitive car in Portugal I believe Marcus will be competitive. He is very familiar with the stages having driven the safety car on last years event and Marcus has kept himself sharp with European Rallycross events as well. To keep Gronholm focused on his task, his regular co-driver Timo Rautiainen will sit next next to him in Portugal.


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