|Born||February 5, 1968|
|World Rally Championship record|
|Active years||1989–2007, 2009–2010, 2019|
|Teams||Toyota, Peugeot, Ford|
|Championships||2 (2000, 2002)|
|First rally||1989 1000 Lakes Rally|
|First win||2000 Swedish Rally|
|Last win||2007 Rally New Zealand|
|Last rally||2019 Rally Sweden|
|Global RallyCross Championship|
|Former teams||Olsbergs MSE|
|Best finish||2nd in 2011|
|FIA ERX Division 1 Championship|
|Former teams||Ford Team RS Europe|
|Best finish||16th in 2008|
Marcus Ulf Johan Grönholm (born February 5, 1968) is a Finnish former rally and rallycross driver, being part of a family of the Swedish-speaking population of Finland lineage. His son, Niclas Grönholm, is an upcoming FIA World Rallycross Championship driver. Grönholm's nicknames are either "Bosse" (mainly in his native Finland and the Scandinavian countries) or "Magic Marcus". 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, and in the 2019 World Rally Championship where he competed in a Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT-maintained Toyota Yaris under the GRX Team banner.
Grönholm's 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 teammate 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 did not 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 defense in 2001 during which assorted mechanical problems kept him down to fourth overall in the points table, he easily won his second title in 2002.
In 2003 Peugeot stuck with the same lineup as 2002 (Grönholm, Burns, Panizzi and Rovanperä) and also the 206. The only change was that the team now had major sponsorship from cigarette giants Marlboro painting the cars red and white. However the 206 was now four years old and showing its age. Grönholm covered this with three wins in Sweden, New Zealand and Argentina (the latter after an incident with a bank which dropped him to as low as 6th); however fuel pressure issues in Greece and a broken Propshaft in Cyprus meant Grönholm lost valuable points. A second in Germany was followed by accidents in Finland, Australia and Italy and by this stage he had fallen to sixth in the Championship. Fourth in France and sixth in Spain after a wrong tire choice was followed by another crash in Great Britain when he hit a pile of logs on a stage. The police soon caught him and despite his best efforts Grönholm was forbidden to go back to service. He finished sixth with 46 points.
In 2004 Peugeot introduced the new 307 to replace the 206, but the car was plagued by gearbox and power steering woes throughout the season. Grönholm took an immediate dislike to the new car because of its poor reliability, battling gearbox problems in Monte Carlo and power steering issues in Sweden. After more power steering woes in Mexico he stated "I'm fed up with this car". An eventful second in New Zealand was followed by heartbreak in Cyprus: Here Grönholm thought he had taken the 307's first win but after the event both he and teammate Harri Rovanperä (who finished fifth) were disqualified for illegal water pumps. A damaged suspension took him out in Greece, while despite a second in Turkey, co-driver Rautiainen suffered two broken bones in his bottom after they ran over a loose steel rod lying on the stage they were driving on which went through Rautiainen's seat - this incident went viral when after a reporter's question, Grönholm explained that something went through the seat "up in the ass of Timo". In Finland everything clicked despite a gearbox issue and Grönholm finally got a win he was allowed to keep, but he went from hero to zero by crashing on the first stage in Germany. Spain would be his last podium of the year, coming home second after winning a battle with Carlos Sainz. This meant Grönholm finished a frustrating fifth with 62 points.
For 2005 Peugeot switched from Michelin to Pirelli tires, feeling that they could win on different rubber and to give Pirelli opportunities with other teams as only Subaru used their rubber in 2004. Grönholm also had a new teammate in Markko Märtin as Rovanperä joined Mitsubishi. After a difficult start with crashes in Monaco and Sweden Grönholm finished second in Mexico and New Zealand and was in contention for the win in Italy until a hefty roll down a hill cost him a heap of time and he had to settle for third. Retirement in Cyprus was followed by another third in Turkey where he lost a fight with Solberg for seoncd; however both were comfortably beaten by Loeb who dominated the year with ten wins and Michelin tires that were superior to the Pirelli on the Peugeot. Groholm criticised the 307's speed in Argentina where despite coming second he stated "It's impossible to go faster with this car". He did take two wins in Finland and Japan, both of which creating contrasting emotions. In Finland he won his home rally for the fifth time despite Rautiainen having another bizarre injury when he damaged a vertebra over a jump. The Japan event came just a week after the death of Märtin's co-driver Michael Park after a crash in Great Britain (Grönholm was therefore withdrawn from the event) and Grönholm was set to finish second until rally leader Petter Solberg crashed on the penultimate stage handing Grönholm the win. It would be Grönholm's last with Peugeot as he retired from the last three events of the year in France (gearbox issues) Spain (technical failure) and Australia (damaged suspension) and although he tied with Solberg on 71 points, the Norwegian pipped him to second with more wins (3-2) so Grönholm finished third. At the end of the year Peugeot left the championship and Grönholm needed to find a new team.
For the 2006 season, Grönholm switched to the Ford team, driving their all-new 2006-specification Focus RS 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 Grönholm collected victories over Loeb in Greece and Finland. Loeb's hopes seemed to be coming to fruition 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. Grönholm 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 Grönholm, though, came in that another victory in New Zealand ahead of teammate Mikko Hirvonen was to confirm the manufacturers' title for his Ford team over Loeb-less Kronos Citroën.
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 teammate.
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.
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.
On April 16, 2008, 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, the Netherlands 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 2011 Grönholm participated in the American Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) in a 560 bhp Best Buy Ford Fiesta Mk7 prepared by the Swedish company Olsbergs MSE. 2012 he continued in the GRC for the same team and car and started the season with two overall victories on two events. A career-ending injury took place during practice for the tjirdround, held at X Games Los Angeles 2012.
Later rally career
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 WRC2009. 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 08 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 made a return to the wheel of a Prodrive-run rally car in September 2010 when he test drove the Mini Countryman WRC in Portugal. Grönholm agreed to the test before taking any long-term decisions about his future. He also made a limited appearance in the 2019 World Rally Championship where he drove a Toyota Gazoo Racing-run Yaris under the GRX Team banner in the 2019 Rally Sweden.
Grönholm lives in Ingå with his wife Teresa and their three children. One of them is Niclas Grönholm, who currently competes in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. While Grönholm is a native speaker of Swedish, he is fully bilingual with Finnish and had his pace notes in the latter language.
Year Title Car 1991 Finnish champion (Group N) Toyota Celica GT-Four ST165 1994 Finnish champion (Group A) Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD 1996 Finnish champion (Group A) Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 1997 Finnish champion (Group A) Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 1998 Finnish champion (Group A) Toyota Corolla WRC /
Toyota Celica GT-Four
2000 World Rally Champion Peugeot 206 WRC 2002 World Rally Champion Peugeot 206 WRC 2002 Champion of Champions Varies
World Rally Championship victories (30) # Event Season Co-driver Car 1 Swedish Rally 2000 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 2 Rally New Zealand 2000 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 3 Rally Finland 2000 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 4 Rally Australia 2000 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 5 Rally Finland 2001 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 6 Rally Australia 2001 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 7 Rally of Great Britain 2001 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 8 Swedish Rally 2002 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 9 Cyprus Rally 2002 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 10 Rally Finland 2002 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 11 Rally New Zealand 2002 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 12 Rally Australia 2002 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 13 Swedish Rally 2003 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 14 Rally New Zealand 2003 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 15 Rally Argentina 2003 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 206 WRC 16 Rally Finland 2004 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 307 WRC 17 Rally Finland 2005 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 307 WRC 18 Rally Japan 2005 Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 307 WRC 19 Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo 2006 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 20 Swedish Rally 2006 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 21 Acropolis Rally 2006 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 22 Rally Finland 2006 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 23 Rally of Turkey 2006 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 24 Rally New Zealand 2006 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 25 Wales Rally GB 2006 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 26 Swedish Rally 2007 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 27 Rally Italia Sardinia 2007 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 28 Acropolis Rally 2007 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 06 29 Rally Finland 2007 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 07 30 Rally New Zealand 2007 Timo Rautiainen Ford Focus RS WRC 07
Complete WRC results
Complete FIA European Rallycross Championship results
|2008||Ford Team RS Europe||Ford Fiesta ST||POR||FRA||HUN||AUT||NOR||SWE
Complete Global RallyCross Championship results
|2011||Best Buy Mobile Olsbergs MSE||Ford Fiesta||IRW1
|2012||Best Buy Mobile Olsbergs MSE||Ford Fiesta||CHA
- Evans, David (15 January 2019). "Marcus Gronholm back to WRC for Rally Sweden with a Toyota". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- Hart, Jeremy. "Gronholm, the purring engine". Scotland on Sunday. Archived from the original on 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- "Totuus "Up in the Ass of Timo" -videosta!".
- ""Up in the ass of Timo" kertoo: Näin kivulias onnettomuus sattui".
- "Marcus Grönholmille naljaillaan edelleen "Up in the ass of Timo" -videosta – "En tiedä tykkääkö Timppa niin hirveästi"". 8 January 2016.
- "Official: Gronholm confirms plans for post-2007". Crash.net. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- "Marcus Gronholm wins his debut rallycross event at Holjes in Sweden". RallyBuzz. Retrieved 2008-07-31.[dead link]
- "Gronholm turns down WRC comeback". Autosport. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Gronholm return now unlikely". Autosport. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Marcus Gronholm to compete on Rally de Portugal 2009 in Prodrive Subaru Impreza WRC2009". RallyBuzz. 23 February 2009. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Gronholm's crash in his own words". wrc.com. 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2009-04-06.[permanent dead link]
- Grönholm to enter Rally Sweden Autosport website 2009-12-11 Retrieved 2009-12-14
- "World Rally Championship – News – Gronholm to test for Mini". Wrc.com. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- "Marcus & Timo". Mgr.fi. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marcus Grönholm.|
|Awards and achievements|
International Rally Driver Award
International Rally Driver Award
| World Rally Champion
| World Rally Champion
| Race of Champions
Champion of Champions
| Race of Champions