Motorsport News - Rally
Abu Dhabi creates ‘Spirit of Rallying’
29th November 2007
award to honour outstanding achievement
The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, has created a brand new award, the ‘Spirit of Rallying’, to honour outstanding achievement made to the sport of rallying and the FIA World Rally Championship. The award, which recognises the positive impact made to the sport by an individual reflects the mutual values of Abu Dhabi and the chosen recipient: Integrity, respect, teamwork and innovation. It has been created to celebrate the incredible contribution by one of the sport’s most iconic figures, former World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm as he approaches his WRC swansong.
Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the body responsible for bringing the emirate into rallying as partner to BP-Ford World Rally Team and as Official Destination Partner to the WRC, said; “We are delighted to create this award to recognise the incredible contribution that Marcus has made to the World Rally Championship in the last decade. He is truly one of the greatest icons of the sport and there can be no more deserving recipient of the ‘Spirit of Rallying’ award.
“Marcus embodies the key values which Abu Dhabi is famous for; respect – for his colleagues and his fellow drivers who he competes against; team-work – success in a sport such as rallying is never the result of an individual but a team of skilled professionals working together; integrity – the highest levels of sportsmanship and appreciation for the good of the sport and innovation – the ability to react instantly and make full use of the resources available.
“Since the emirate of Abu Dhabi joined the WRC as partner to BP-Ford in July, we have been privileged to support Marcus and the rest of the team as they compete for both the Manufacturer’s and Driver’s titles. We are delighted to offer our congratulations to the team and to Ford for clinching the Manufacturer’s title and hope that Marcus is able to retire from the sport with another Driver’s title to add to his already impressive record.”
Grönholm made his debut in the WRC in 1998, following three back-to-back titles in the Finnish Rally Championship. His performance on his home event in 1998 had the desired effect and he was snapped up by the French manufacturer Peugeot for a full-time drive in 1999. He took his first event win in 2000 on the Swedish International Rally and went on to claim four more wins, and the Drivers’ title, that year. He followed it with another title in 2002 before moving to the BP-Ford World Rally Team in 2006, where he was instrumental in the marque claiming back-to-back Manufacturer titles, in 2006 and 2007*.
Over the course of his career in the WRC, Grönholm has consistently exhibited the values that Abu Dhabi stands for. His approach is always focussed yet approachable and he is the consummate team player and professional. He has become one of the names synonymous with the sport of rallying for the current generation and the announcement of his retirement at the end of the 2007 season will leave a gap that will be felt for some time.
*Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA
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