About Marcus (Bosse) Grönholm
Marcus "Bosse" Grönholm (born February 5, 1968 in Kauniainen/Grankulla) is a Finnish former rally driver. Driving for Peugeot, he won the World Rally Championship in 2000 and 2002. After Peugeot withdrew from the World Rally Championship, Grönholm moved to Ford for the 2006 season and placed second in the drivers' world championship, losing the title to Sébastien Loeb by one point. The next year he again placed second, four points behind Loeb. He and his co-driver Timo Rautiainen retired from rallying after the 2007 season but returned to the championship in 2009 driving a private Subaru for a short period of time.
Grönholm also won the 2002 Race of Champions, taking home the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy and earning the title "Champion of Champions". At the 2006 Race of Champions, he formed team Finland with Heikki Kovalainen and the pair won the Nations' Cup.
Marcus' father, Ulf "Uffe" Grönholm, had been an active rally driver in the late 1970s to early 1980s, and with measurable success too, winding up twice Finnish champion. He was killed during a practice run for Hankiralli on February 25, 1981 in Kirkkonummi. Despite this connection, his son, only 13 years old at the time of his father's death, was latterly to refute any suggestion that it was Ulf, and not fellow rally-driving cousin (and occasional Peugeot factory squad team-mate at various points during the early 2000s), Sebastian Lindholm, who tempted him into following in his father's footsteps by also participating in the sport. In his teens Grönholm was fond of motocross as a recreational activity, but a serious knee injury forced a switch to boxing.
Grönholm featured in various bit-part roles in the world series throughout the 1990s, most notably with Toyota with whom he drove Celicas and Corolla WRCs. Much considered as a late-bloomer he didn't become a 'factory driver' until his early 30s. A staggering string of fastest stage times one year as a privateer, on the final day of the Rally Finland, subsequently brought him to the attention of such factory teams as Ford, Toyota and Peugeot, who all presented him with offers for further employment. It was only when he joined the latter marque, championship newcomers for 1999, that he began to enjoy such meteoric success.
After suffering an engine failure on the season-opening round in Monte Carlo in 2000, he took his first championship win on the Swedish Rally the following month, with the 206 WRC. Consequent wins, including on his home round of the series, were sufficient to see off closest points challenger, Subaru's Richard Burns and land a shock first title after finishing second to the Englishman in the Rally of Great Britain. After an irksome and unsuccessful championship defence in 2001 during which assorted mechanical problems kept him down to 4th overall in the points table, he easily won his second title in 2002, at times displaying Michael Schumacher-esque dominance of the sport.
Grönholm initially seemed to be carrying on from where he left off in the opening rounds of 2003: He led the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, threatening to score a shock win over the armada of Citroens until his Peugeot team's customary misfortune struck, as well as securing astounding early-season victories in New Zealand and Argentina - the latter a stirring comeback drive from sixth to deny a time-penalised Carlos Sainz. But he failed to cobble together a sufficiently consistent points-scoring run to truly have a hope in retaining his title. With the subsequent introduction of the bulkier Peugeot 307 WRC by the team's parent marque for 2004, he was to score only three more rally wins over the following two seasons. Two of those came in Finland; the remainder, an emotional inherited victory in Japan after the retirement of long-time leader Petter Solberg's Subaru, to follow on from the tragic Wales Rally GB just a week beforehand, where the sport had witnessed Peugeot team-mate Markko Märtin's navigator Michael Park's death in a crash. With the PSA Group representative teams jointly withdrawing from the championship for 2006, Grönholm was left to search for employment elsewhere.
For the 2006 season, Grönholm switched to the Ford team, driving their all-new 2006-specification Focus WRC. On his debut, in January, he won his first ever tarmac rally in Monte Carlo, beating Sébastien Loeb by over a minute, albeit beaten by the Frenchman on the road with the championship's unliked 'Superally' regulations coming to his rescue as a shunt for the Citroën hastened its exit from Leg One. Although he was to follow this up with an entirely credible win in the second event of the season, Sweden, subsequent events saw Loeb surge past into a comfortable lead: the Frenchman was to never finish below second place in every event he entered, while his adversary was left to rue a string of retirements and errors that stymied his challenge.
In the meantime, the hopeful Finn collected victories over Loeb in Greece and Finland. Loeb's hopes seemed to be coming to fruituition when yet another victory in Cyprus brought him to the brink of the title; however he was to suffer his own blow days later when injury from a biking accident forced him out of the last four rounds of the series. Marcus was able to push within one point of the lead in the total standings as Loeb recovered, but his claim to the title was finally extinguished when he rolled out of contention on the first leg of the penultimate event in Australia. Some solace for Gronholm, though, came in that another victory in New Zealand ahead of team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was to confirm the manufacturers' title for his Ford team over Loeb-less Kronos Citroen.
The 2007 season started in good fashion for Grönholm. He claimed third place in the 75ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo behind the dominant returning works Citroens, and then the top spot in the Swedish Rally, mirroring the previous year's result. While the usually consummate Loeb tumbled out of the points from a potentially auspicious position in both Norway and Sardinia, Grönholm remained consistent and after winning for the 28th time in his career over the Citroen titan in Greece, led the championship by nine points over Loeb over the championship's summer break. At the 2007 Rally Finland, Ford secured a one-two with Grönholm taking the win and Hirvonen the second place ahead of Loeb. At the next rally, the 2007 Rallye Deutschland, Grönholm got distracted by a cow along the road and made a driving error while trying to secure a second place ahead of hard-charging François Duval, dropping him to fourth place behind his team-mate.
Then came New Zealand, where after a tight battle over all three legs, Grönholm took a victory of historic slenderness over Loeb. The final winning margin between the two represented the closest ever in the history of the World Rally Championship: 0.3 seconds. This victory put him ten points clear in the championship with five rounds remaining. Podium finishes in Spain and France kept him on track for the championship, but after crashing out early at both Japan and Ireland the championship lead switched back to Loeb. Second place at Wales Rally GB was not enough to dislodge Loeb and so Grönholm finished the season as runner-up.
On 14 September 2007, Grönholm announced long-rumoured plans to retire from rallying at the end of the 2007 season, stating that "I wanted to stop while I still had the speed to win rallies. I didn't want to leave the decision too late so that I wasn't capable of winning any longer", also citing the opportunity ahead of him to potentially retire as a three-time World Rally Champion.
On April 16 Marcus Grönholm, at a press conference in the Kungsträdgården of Stockholm, announced a limited programme to take part in at least five rounds of the FIA European Championships for Rallycross Drivers (ERC). Grönholm participated in the series as team member of Andréas Eriksson's Ford Team RS Europe and, like the 2003 Swedish rally champion, drove a brand new 4WD Ford Fiesta ST European Rallycross Car (ERC) with 560 bhp (420 kW) and 800+ Nm torque that goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.2 seconds, faster than any current Formula One car. The programme was later reduced to three 2008 ERC rounds (Sweden, Holland and Poland). Grönholm qualified on pole and went on to take the win in his ERC debut at Höljes in Sweden on July 6 in front of 23,400 spectators.
In August 2008, Grönholm turned down Stobart M-Sport Ford's offer to return to the WRC to replace the injured Gigi Galli. It was later reported that the factory teams of Citroën and Subaru both wanted to sign him for the 2009 season. In December, Grönholm and Subaru were reportedly close to signing to a full 12-event program, when the team re-structured the potential deal for financial reasons to include only four events, which did not interest Grönholm. Soon after, Subaru announced its shock withdrawal from the series due to the economic downturn.
Grönholm came out of retirement to contest the 2009 Rally Portugal in a Prodrive-prepared Subaru Impreza WRC2008. He stated that he was not aiming for the win and that "it will be fun to return [to the WRC], even in an ad-hoc way, in a car that I don’t know at all and after a year where I competed in some rallycross events." Despite this Grönholm performed well and stayed in touch with the leaders; he was in 4th position when he crashed on Saturday’s opening stage, damaging the car's engine and ending his rally.
Grönholm took part in the 2010 Rally Sweden driving a Ford Focus RS WRC for Team Therminator, alongside countryman Matthias Therman. Grönholm was co-driven, as usual, by Timo Rautiainen. He finished the rally - the first round of the 2010 WRC season in 21st place after technical problems on stage 6 costing him 13 minutes making him drop down to 33rd then making all the way up again until he got to 24th place but then dropped again to 30th place because of a puncture costing him another 7 minutes.
Grönholm will make a return to the wheel of a Prodrive-run rally car in September 2010 when he test drives the new Mini Countryman WRC in Portugal. Grönholm has agreed to the test before taking any long-term decisions about his future.
Grönholm lives in Ingå with his wife Teresa and their three children. He and his co-driver Timo Rautiainen are brothers-in-law.
He is a member of Mensa Finland.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)