Rally New Zealand: Peugeot leg one summary

MARCUS GRONHOLM SECOND AFTER LEG ONE After a ceremonial start in Auckland city centre on Thursday night, the rally moved to the north of New Zealand to base itself around the small village of Paparoa, home to the service park over the first ...

Rally New Zealand: Peugeot leg one summary

MARCUS GRONHOLM SECOND AFTER LEG ONE

After a ceremonial start in Auckland city centre on Thursday night, the rally moved to the north of New Zealand to base itself around the small village of Paparoa, home to the service park over the first two days. The green countryside and flowing roads of the area are typical of Rally New Zealand: a firm favourite amongst all the drivers.

But rather than admiring the scenery, the crews were plunged straight into action for the first leg of the rally on Friday morning, on rollercoaster gravel roads where the average speed through corners and crests was in the region of 120kph.

Three drivers broke away from the pack at the first opportunity: the same trio that have set the pace all year. Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and Petter Solberg traded seconds all day. After the first loop of four stages, totalling 72 competitive kilometres, they were covered by just eight tenths of a second.

On the second loop of four stages, which included a repeat of three tests used in the morning, Loeb managed to pull out a gap of 23.1 seconds over the Peugeot 307 WRC of Marcus Gronholm. Loeb's team mate Francois Duval did well to take third, 26.7 seconds further back while Petter Solberg is fourth, 31.7 seconds off the lead.

Marcus Gronholm: "I was reasonably pleased after the first loop of stages, knowing that I had made a tyre choice that was a bit too hard. Unfortunately, we had the opposite problem in the afternoon, and chose tyres that were too soft. We struggled to find traction, so it was a frustrating afternoon. Generally speaking, it was quite a messy day where we made life difficult for ourselves. However, we end the leg just 20 seconds off the lead and we have had no problems with the car. I've always had a good feeling with the roads here, so we can still challenge for the lead. I'm looking forward to the rest of the event.

Markko Martin: "Since the last rally in Mexico and our recent tests I've had a better feeling with the car. This morning started off OK, but like Marcus I chose tyres that were too soft for the afternoon's stages and I struggled a bit. This is the sort of rally where you have to make everything absolutely perfect in order to get a good rhythm and I am not at that point yet. There are a few adjustments I would like to make to the car and hopefully that will help us climb up the order over the remaining two days."

Jean-Pierre Nicolas: "We've had no problem with the cars, but our lack of experience with our new Pirelli tyres led us to pick tyres that were too hard for the first loop of stages. As is so often the case we over-compensated for the mistake, and took tyres that were too soft in the afternoon's second loop of stages. Luckily Marcus managed to limit the time loss: we are still in the thick of the action and 23 seconds is not an insurmountable gap."

-peugeot-

shares
comments
New Zealand SS8 results
Previous article

New Zealand SS8 results

Next article

Rally New Zealand: Leg one summary

Rally New Zealand: Leg one summary
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021