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Marcus Grönholm - double World Rally Champion

Date of birth: 5.2.1968
Lives: Inkoo
Marrital status: Wife Teresa and three children
First rally: 1987
First world rally: 1989 Rally of Thousand Lakes
World rallies started: 150
Statistics: Rally Paradise

Marcus Grönholm grew up with motorsport flowing through his veins. His father, Ulf, was one of Finland's leading rally drivers in the 1970s and the young Marcus started to compete in motocross at the age of just 13. His career showed promise but a knee injury brought it to a halt in 1986. However, just one year later he gained his driving licence and followed in his father's footsteps by making his rally debut in a Ford Escort.

He became Finnish junior champion in 1988 and won the national Group N title in 1991 at the wheel of a Toyota Celica. He went onto dominate the Finnish Championship, claiming four outright titles, including a hat-trick from 1996 -1998.
Although he made his WRC debut on his home rally in 1989, his chances at the highest level were few and he started only 25 WRC events in 10 seasons. Results were impressive though. A fifth placed finish in 1994 and fourth two years later in privately-entered cars on Rally Finland were bettered by fourth in Argentina in 1997. It earned him two rallies with the official Toyota team and he made his mark by leading his home event on the opening two days.

An outstanding performance on the 1998 Rally Finland earned Grönholm his big breakthrough at the age of 31 - a contract to drive with the official Peugeot team the following year. Having scaled down his work as a farmer in 1996, Grönholm was ready for the challenge, assisted by his brother-in-law and co-driver Timo Rautiainen, with whom he had renewed their partnership in 1995.

In 2000 they claimed their first WRC win in Sweden and also won in New Zealand, Finland and Australia to lift the drivers' title on their first attempt at the full championship and help Peugeot win the manufacturers' crown. Three more wins followed in 2001, in Finland, Australia and Great Britain, but an awful run of early-season retirements left the Finn in fourth in the drivers' series.

Grönholm bounced back in 2002 and five victories, including his third successive Rally Finland triumph, earned him his second world title. The wins continued to come in 2003, his fifth season at Peugeot and the last for the 206 World Rally Car. He scored three victories before the French team introduced the 307 World Rally Car at the start of 2004.

It proved a demanding car to drive and Grönholm did well to collect a string of podium finishes as well as victories in Finland in both 2004 and 2005 and Japan last season. His win in Finland in 2005 was his fifth success on his home event. He has 18 WRC victories to his name.

Seasons 2006 and 2007 were the most succesful in his rallying career. Although he finished second in both seasons Bosse with his team mate Mikko Hirvonen brought two manufacturer titles for Ford. After season 2007 Grönholm retired WRC and started competing in selected motorsport events.

Away from rallying Grönholm enjoys relaxing at home with his family and is a keen sports fan, both participating and watching.


 
 
 
Timo Rautiainen - double World Rally Champion, co-driver for Marcus Grönholm

Date of birth: 13.11.1964
Lives: Espoo
Marrital status: Wife Micaela and two children
First rally: 1988
First world rally: 1990 Rally of Thousand Lakes
World rallies started: 142

Asuessaan mopoikäisenä Kirkkonummella Timo kävi joskus seuraamassa paikallisia ralleja ja kiinnostus vain kasvoi, kun joskus pääsi mekaanikoksi mukaan kavereiden ajaessa rallia.

Vuonna 1988 Timon paras kaveri Mikko Kalliomaa (ajaa nykyisin Marcuksen ja Timon "safety caria" MM-ralleissa) päätti osallistua Junioreiden SM-sarjaan N-ryhmän Lancia Deltalla ja pyysi Timon kyytiinsä. Kaksikko voitti useita osakilpailuja ja sijoittui toiseksi sarjassa. Tuona vuona voittajan nimi oli Marcus Grönholm! Seuraavana vuonna Mikko ja Timo muuttivat Saksaan ajamaan avointa mestaruussarjaa N-ryhmässä. Timo oli mukana kuitenkin vain muutaman kisan verran ja palasi taloudellisten syiden takia Suomeen.

Vuoden 1990 puolivälissä Marcus Grönholm pyysi Timoa (joka tuolloin seurusteli ja myöhemmin avioitui Marcuksen siskon kanssa) kyytiinsä SM-sarjaan N-ryhmän Toyota Celicalla. Vuonna 1991 Marcus voitti mestaruuden, mutta Timo ei ollut koko kautta kyydissä. Yhteistyö loppui 1991 kesällä, kun Marcuksen taustavaikuttaja halusi suojatilleen kokeneemman kartturin.

Timo seurasi lajia sivusta useita vuosia, kunnes palasi jälleen Marcuksen kyytiin keväällä 1995. Pari sijoittui toiseksi Jyväskylässä, joka ei tuona vuonna ollut täysi MM-kilpailu.

Timon ja Marcuksen yhteistyö on hiotunut toimivaksi ja he ovat pisimpään yhdessäajanut pari MM-sarjassa. Timo on ollut Marcuksen rinnalla voittamassa 25 MM-osakilpailua ja mestaruudet vuosina 2000 ja 2002. Hän on jaetulla kuudennella sijalla kaikkien aikojen kartanlukijoiden listalla MM-voittojen määrässä ja on voittanut kotirallinsa viisi kertaa 2000-luvulla.

Rallien välissä Timo viettää aikaa perheensä kanssa, lukee kirjoja, katselee elokuvia ja harrastaa liikuntaa. Timo is a member of Finnish Co-Drivers Association (FCDA).
 
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