Marcus Gronholm will return to competition at the Finnish Rally later this month – just not quite in the way the legions of his home-based fans would hope for.
Gronholm is the most successful driver ever at Rally Finland, having won the Jyvaskyla-based event seven times, and this year he will compete in a rallysprint competition running at the superspecial stage at the end of the second day of the upcoming round of the World Rally Championship.
Gronholm, who is currently preparing for his first-time assault on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday, will drive a Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX and face 50 other drivers in a knock-out competition at the side-by-side superspecial stage at Killeri, just outside the event's hometown of Jyvaskyla.
Gronholm's job of winning the event has been slightly tougher by four-time Finnish rallysprint champion Tomi Hallia's decision to return to challenge the two-time World Rally Champion.
Rally Finland starts on Thursday July 30 and the Killeri Rallysprint takes place from 1700 on Saturday August 1. Following that event, the full field of WRC crews will contest the two-kilometre stage.