Following Gronholm and the Prodrive Impreza’s strong run during the first day of Rally Portugal, Prodrive is aiming to do further WRC rounds in 2009.

Despite only having little time behind the wheel of the Prodrive Impreza WRC2008 and not having competed for nearly 18 months, Gronholm comfortably held second place during day one of Rally Portugal.  Having got to grips with his pace notes and becoming increasingly comfortable with the car, Gronholm was aiming to pick up the pace on day two with a target of a podium finish.  Unfortunately, he ran wide on a corner early in the first stage of the day, clipping a tree and rolling the car.  The resultant damage to the engine forced him to retire.

“Marcus has shown just how competitive he can be in the Impreza,” said Prodrive team principal, David Lapworth. “If it wasn’t the accident yesterday, I am sure he would have been on the podium today.

Gronholm’s appearance at the championship has also been a major bonus for the rally organisers.  ACP President, Carlos Barbosa, said:  “Marcus has brought a real buzz back to the World Rally Championship and made this year’s Rally Portugal even more special.  We have had an amazing turn out from the fans and the media this weekend and I am sure much of that is down to Marcus.”

Driving a near identical car to Gronholm, and running out of the same service area, Adapta World Rally Team driver, Mads Ostberg, had an almost trouble-free rally, finishing sixth, his best ever result in the World Rally Championship.

“What can I say, it’s a good result.  The car has been feeling great and we have been able to have a close fight with Novikov for the last two days.  It was just a shame that he retired, as it would have been great to keep fighting to the end.   I am now really looking forward to Sardinia, it is my favourite event, with stages that are similar to those here in Portugal.”
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