|Grönholm is ready for his Subaru debut |
After having a break of 16 months, the two-time rally World Champions Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen are ready to return, in the coming weekend they are going to participate in the World Championship rally in Portugal.
The Finnish duo will be competing in a Subaru Impreza WRC 2008 rally car, which is built and serviced by English company Prodrive Ltd, who until last year ran Subaru's official World Rally Team. Marcus and Timo will start with number 15.
Grönholm tested the Subaru WRC rally car for the first time in February in connection with the World Championship rally in Norway. The test proved a positive experience when Marcus as a result decided to take the challenge.
-However, this is not going to be a "great return to the world of rallying". We will drive this one race and then let's see what will be the feelings, Grönholm emphasizes.
- Hopefully, the driving will feel good. Trust for the car is very important. I haven't driven a rally for a long time. Actually last time a year ago, when I drove the 0-car in Rally Portugal. Of course, it will take some time before I get into the rhythm. Let's see where my pace will get me in the race.
How far do you think it will take you?
- I don't want to make guesses about that yet, Grönholm laughs.
Grönholm, in his Prodrive Subaru, has not prepared much for the race. In addition to the test day in Norway, the duo has tested last week the Subaru two days in Spain.
- The engine and the transmission felt good right away. The steering, the suspension and the differentials needed adjustment in the beginning, but during the test I was able to get them adjusted to my satisfaction.
Subaru is using new Öhlins dampers. I would have like to adjust the suspension a bit more, but we ran out of time and the deliverer ran out of spare parts for the shock absorber, Grönholm says.
Grönholm does not want to set any goals.
- When, for once I am allowed to race without pressure, I will concentrate on having fun, but of course it would be nice to do well. I haven't made the pacenotes for a long time, and it's unlikely that I will make 100 per cent perfect pacenotes immediately after this break.
- But hey, anything is possible, Grönholm acknowledges.
The Portuguese rally, based in Faro on the coast is the season's fourth.
The rally starts on 2nd of April with a 2,21 km super special stage in the soccer stadium in Algarve. The real rally starts on 3rd of April with six special stages of 136 km in total. The rally contains 18 special stages of 361 km in total. The race ends on Sunday 5th of April at 4 pm Finnish time.
Rally World Champion: 2000 and 2002
World Champion races: 150
The first World Rally Championship: Finland 1989
World Rally Championship tournament wins: 30
World Rally Championship podium placements: 61
World Rally Championship points: 615
World Rally Championship best times: 541
Co-Driver: Timo Rautiainen