Another Victory For Ford
Topics: Marcus Gronholm
September 4, 2007
Going into the Rally New Zealand, Ford's Marcus Gronholm is under immense pressure from Sebastian Loeb driving for Citroen. Although Gronholm has an eight-point lead going into the said event, Loeb has just come off a win and is showing resurgence. But when the dust settled, it was still Gronholm who posted the fastest time. Although Gronholm beat Loeb at the said event, he has to do it against a very strong challenge put up by the French driver. Gronholm won over Loeb with the narrowest margin ever in the sport - just a mere 0.3 seconds.
BP Ford team director Malcolm Wilson Sr. dubbed the win by Gronholm at New Zealand as "timely". He said that the win will serve as a morale boost for the Finn. "It's outstanding for Marcus to come from behind and win. It's good psychologically for him too - and has strengthened our position in both championships. I've never seen a finish like that in my career."
Wilson Sr. also said that the history making battle between Loeb and Gronholm is not only good for the Finn because he won the tight contest but also for the sport as a whole. "I think it's incredible from a sporting point of view. I've been in this sport all my life and I've never seen a situation like this," Wilson continued in an interview after the race.
"Okay we've seen the lead change on the final stage before but to be going into the final stage with 0.7s is an incredible situation. For me it's such a great shame that you can't easily find a way to capture that so the rest of the world can see how great this sport is." Although the sport hosts teams like Subaru, Citroen, and Ford, the makers of Ford pickup oil filter relocation kits; and have produced superstars like Collin McRae; the sport is not yet as popular as other motorsports like Formula One and NASCAR.
When Gronholm was informed that he won by a very small margin, the Finn celebrated by jumping on his car's roof. Wilson Sr. jokingly said that he was not pleased with what the driver did. "The first I heard was a big cheer," Wilson said. "Then I saw Marcus jumping up and down on the roof of his car at the finish line and I knew he had done it. I'm not too impressed with that - and I am doing to send him a bill for the damage - it was more than he did in Australia last year when he rolled the car!"
In conclusion, Wilson said that they are looking to have a good run for the championships but he said not to count Loeb out as the Frenchman is hard to beat on asphalt tracks. "I think we know we came away with a bonus on the manufacturer points from Germany, we got the result that we hoped we would get, but we know how strong Séb is on the tarmac so don't underestimate him," he shared.
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