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JAZDEC

Gronholm  Marcus

Gronholm Marcus


Štát: Fínsko Fínsko
Dátum narodenia: 5. 2. 1968
Disciplína: Rally, Rally, WRC
Homepage: http://www.mgr.fi/


There are many similarities in careers of Marcus and Tommi Makinen, man he deposed from WRC throne. Both are drivers that were made to wait, getting their respective big breaks in relatively late phase but once their careers took full flight what a flight it was. Marcus' autobiography is titled "Rocky road to championship", summing up the hard path he had to take.

Some journalists have mistaken Gronholm as a swede. That is understandable, he has Swedish name and is fluent in Swedish as well as in Finnish, coming from bi-lingual family. His father Ulf was also a rally driver but died in an accident while practicing for a rally, Marcus was still a boy at that time. Initially young man started competing with motorbikes but after a while knee-problem developed and forced Marcus to try cars and rallying.

Winning national junior championship title in 1988, he embarked on a road that saw him win national titles almost annually, most often losing only to his cousin Sebastian Lindholm. Eventually he was picked up by TTE to drive works car in Rally Finland 1992, aged just 24. Fastest time on first stage and then off the road. His close ties with TTE continued however and after years of trying, even so that Gronholm almost gave up, he partnered Didier Auriol in 1997 Rally Finland with brand-new Toyota Corolla WRC.

On that occasion Marucs was forced to retire with fuel pressure problems while on course to third place. Disappointment was huge but TTE promised a car for season ending Rally GB, an opportunity which Marcus capitalised well, finishing fifth. Next year he again drove TTE-backed car in Rally Finland, scoring most stage wins but was only seventh after he went to a ditch because of a broken rim.

This was his big break and phone started to ring. After years of support from TTE and close relationship with Ove Andersson, Marcus' own priority and wish was to get drive from Toyota. However, it was Peugeot that made his first offer and this was the contract Marcus accepted. Later he was approached by other teams too but despite being offered a full season (Peugeot-deal was for gravel events only), Marcus stuck with the promise he had given to Peugeot. Little over a year later he was crowned as world champion.

He drove for Peugeot over six years, gaining his second world title in 2002 in a dominant performance that was a complete contrast to disastrous previous season. When 206WRC begun to show it's age, partly at Marcus' insistence Peugeot rushed the new 307WRC to service and new drought set in. Scoring only three wins - although fourth one was lost to water pump fiasco - in two years was all-time low and saw Peugeot withdraw from the WRC. Many thought that Marcus would retire too but Ford signed him to spearhead the team driving the all-new Focus WRC.

When Loeb went off in Monte Carlo 2005, Marcus got a dream start with the new team and won. Later in the season it looked like Loeb would walk away with his third title but then he had an accident with a mountain bike and was forced to be absent from several rallies. Marcus had a chance to take the title - if he could finish well on all of the remaining rallies. Alas, he clipped a rock in Australia, going off and finishing only fifth, handing the title to Loeb. 2007 was a much better year, Marcus and Loeb battled neck-and-neck in most rallies and Finn led the championship with a 13 point margin going into tarmac rallies. As expected, Loeb won all those and with some mistakes from Marcus took the title despite the most thrilling finale in a WRC rally ever when Marcus won by mere 0,3 seconds over Sebastien.


Statistics
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WRC starts: 151
first: Finland 1989
latest: Portugal 2009
Results wins: 30 (19.9% of starts)
second places: 22
third places: 9
total podiums: 61 (40.4% of starts)
points finishes: 89
total points scored: 615 (drivers' championship points)
DNF's: 53 (35.1% of starts)
Stage wins: 541
WRC titles: winner of 2000 FIA World Championship for Drivers
winner of 2002 FIA World Championship for Drivers

First WRC event: 1989 Finland
First DNF: 1990 Finland
First scored point: 1993 Finland (10th)
First stage win: 1992 Finland (SS1)
First time led rally: 1997 Finland (SS4)
First podium: 2000 Sweden
First win: 2000 Sweden

First WRC event: 1989 Finland
First DNF: 1990 Finland
First scored point: 1993 Finland (10th)
First stage win: 1992 Finland (SS1)
First time led rally: 1997 Finland (SS4)
First podium: 2000 Sweden
First win: 2000 Sweden