Finnish rally ace Marcus Gronholm averted disaster to make a promising debut at the 2009 Pikes Peak international hillclimb. The world rally champion’s attempt was severely hampered when the rear tyre of his Ford Fiesta exploded, forcing him to limp home to a still-respectable fifth position in a time of 11min 28.963sec. Japanese rally star Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima claimed first prize in his Suzuki SX4 with a time of 10min 15.368sec.
Both of the rally stars fell short of their ultimate goal – to complete the epic 12.42-mile mountain dash in under ten minutes. Gronholm claims that he will not be beaten by the American hillclimb however, stating that he will be back next time. ‘The Fiesta has the potential to beat the ten-minute record. If I come back I know what we need to do to be fastest’. Although he didn’t take the crown, he was gifted with the ‘rookie of the year’ award for his efforts.
Before you attempt to break the Pikes Peak record in your Fiesta, it is worth noting that Gronholm’s car had the benefit of 800bhp. Ford’s participation in the rally is part of its plan to launch the Fiesta on the American market.