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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Rally drivers stung by cameras
Colin McRae and Richard Burns
Colin McRae and Richard Burns are among the drivers
Some of the world's top rally drivers were caught by speed cameras around the site of the British leg of the world championship, a court has been told.

Port Talbot Magistrates Court was told on Tuesday that among 20 names compiled by South Wales Police were Britain's Colin McRae and Richard Burns.

It is alleged the men were driving in their high-powered cars between stages where they starred in front of thousands of spectators in the 2002 rally in the forests and hills of Wales.

They were among 138 drivers who took part in the British leg of the World Rally Championship which was based in Cardiff.

Reigning world champion at the time, Richard Burns was accused of breaking the speed limit five times - going over 30mph, 40mph, 50mph, 60mph and 70mph.

The others were accused of breaking the 30mph speed limit as they drove to the next stage of the rally on November 14 last year.

Drivers included in the group of 20 are:

  • Former world champion Scot Colin McRae, 34, living in Switzerland.

  • Four times world champion Finnish Tommi Makinen, 39, living in Monaco.

  • Spaniard Carlos Sainz, 42, of Madrid, who is twice world champion.

  • German Armin Schwarz, 40, based in Monte Carlo, a former European champion.

  • Estonian Markko Martin, 26, living in Tartu, Estonia, who finished second in last year's GB rally.

    Only Schwarz pleaded guilty to speeding - admitting five charges of breaking the limit, all at 30mph along country roads.

    Solicitor Paul Trotman, representing the other 19 rally drivers, said most intended to plead guilty.

    Schwarz's lawyer Glenda Owen said he faced disqualification from driving on the points "totting up" procedure.

    "Disqualification would lead to exceptional hardship for himself and the Hyundai team he drives for," she told the court.

    Their cases have been adjourned until 10 November.

  • Prosecutions have also started against scores of spectators who were following the rally which was run over various stages between Cardiff and Swansea.

    A spokesman for the organisers said later that they will be taking steps to ensure that the drivers are aware of the speed limits during this year's rally.

    "The organisers do everything possible to ensure that drivers and teams are aware of the local speed limits and have the greatest respect for local communities," he said.

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    17 Nov 02  |  Wales

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