Speaking to WRC Live’s Becs Williams during the recent Neste Oil Rally Finland, the double world champion and a seven-time winner of the Jyvaskyla-based round, said he “got the urge many times” to make a WRC comeback.
The 44-year-old, still recuperating following his accident in the X Games in Los Angeles last month, was a visitor to his home round of the world championship last Saturday.
“I decided on Friday afternoon to come up to Jyvaskyla,” said Gronholm, who claimed 30 wins from 152 starts during his lengthy stint in global rallying’s top tier. “It’s not easy to stay here and not drive but finally it’s nice to be here and see old friends. I’m happy I decided to come.”
Gronholm, pictured during his visit to Rally Finland, has tackled two WRC rounds since retiring from full-time competition at the end of the 2007 season. He revealed he drove a version of MINI’s John Cooper Works WRC in initial testing but otherwise had no knowledge of the latest-generation World Rally Cars.
Despite his fondness for WRC competition, Gronholm conceded he would not have relished being in Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen’s shoes starting the final Ouninpohja stage still in the fight for victory.
“If you are leading with only a few seconds going into Ouninpohja then it’s scary for the drivers who will be afraid to have to fight for the win,” said Gronholm. “For the spectators and media it’s great but not for the drivers.”