With most of the Peugeot 307 WRC’s technical glitches ironed out, two-time world champion Marcus Gronholm could be the man to beat in this weekend’s Swedish Rally - the Finn’s favourite event.

With most of the Peugeot 307 WRC’s technical glitches ironed out, two-time world champion Marcus Gronholm could be the man to beat in this weekend’s Swedish Rally - the Finn’s favourite event.


Gronholm crashed, but recovered to finish fifth in the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo recently. However, the Finn hopes to be victorious in what’s “effectively (his) favourite rally, especially when the conditions are really wintry”.


”(The Swedish Rally) is very fast and that suits my style, perhaps more so even than Rally Finland. Feeling the studs bite into the ice as the car powers from one high speed corner to the next is particularly exhilarating. Maybe it's the pleasure I get that makes me feel so good and enables me to go so quickly here,” the Finn said.


However, finding the limits of a WRC car’s grip in Sweden demands total concentration, he added. “I found that out to my cost last year, while pushing hard to claw back the minute I dropped early in the rally. The 307 WRC was then at an early phase in its development and its handling was still perfectable. After two spins, I told myself it was time to back off a notch,” said Gronholm.


Mild weather can reduce the prominence of snow walls, which traditionally line the stages in Sweden.


"That makes it a little more dangerous if you go wide. The problem isn't so much the absence of snow walls but the lack of ice on the ground, which causes the studs to wear more quickly or to come out of the tread blocks. The stages also tend to cut up, which means your driving style is not so smooth. You can still drive flat out but it's much less fun", the Finn added.


Through the very fast, long corners of the Swedish event, the 307 WRC will need to be very balanced, progressive in its handling and also very responsive to slight steering adjustments. “For the studs to bite effectively into the ice, you also need good traction, while a powerful engine is important for speed," Gronholm concluded.