Peugeot team-mates Marcus Grönholm and Richard Burns have dominated the New Zealand Rally for the past three years and few will bet against either of them winning the event next week.

Peugeot team-mates Marcus Grönholm and Richard Burns have dominated the New Zealand Rally for the past three years and few will bet against either of them winning the event next week.

The French team and its drivers have an impressive record in New Zealand… In October, Grönholm spearheaded a resounding one-two for Peugeot to wrap up the manufacturer’s third successive manufacturers' title and a second drivers' championship crown for the Swede following his title in 2000. In that year Grönholm also tasted the victory champagne in Auckland.

Championship log leader Richard Burns, who won the event in 2001 and 1996, Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä, who finished second six months ago, will fly the flag for Peugeot in New Zealand.

Peugeot Sport Director Corrado Provera this week said the event would be a rally of outright speed, run over flowing gravel stages that put the accent on driver skill.

“This is a 'loose surface' race where the keys to a top performance are precision and perfect control of the majestic power-slides that are a feature of this event,” he said.

"We go there this year looking for another win, or perhaps even better. If conditions are dry, Burns could be at a slight disadvantage because of his start position on Leg 1, but Grönholm and Rovanperä won't suffer from this handicap and, on the whole, all three of our drivers are in with a real chance of victory," Provera added.

Burns, seeking his first victory in the 206 WRC, is really looking forward to the New Zealand Rally. "The only unknown factor this year is the state of the stages and my start position. I will be first on the road and that could prove a disadvantage if the going is dry.

If that is the case, I will do what I can to figure inside the top three at the end of the opening day. That said, the seconds lost early in the rally are unlikely to be easy to claw back against the likes of Marcus and Harri. That's why I would really like it to rain on Day 1," Burns added.