Marcus Gronholm declared himself thrilled after winning his favorite stage of Rally Sweden this afternoon. The 14.23km Sagen stage is one of the two-time World Rally Champion's favorites in the world, so much so that he named his restaurant after it.
Gronholm had a dismal Friday when an electrical fault on his Ford Focus cost him time, and lost a further seven minutes to a puncture after lunch today, but on the second run through Sagen this afternoon, he went quickest on a stage for first time since Rally GB in 2007.
"It was a good time," he said. "I was worried about the surface. The first time through, it was perfect, fantastic. But then I was worried for the second time that there could be some gravel, but it was not so bad."
Gronholm missed out on posting the fastest time on this morning's first run at Sagen when he was beaten by his old adversary Sebastien Loeb, who lowered his time by 3.7sec.
Following his problems, Gronholm's Richard Burns Foundation-branded Stobart Ford is now 21 minutes off the lead. That lead is held by the Finn's countryman and former teammate Mikko Hirvonen, who was second fastest through Sagen 2 and is now 14.8sec ahead of Loeb.