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Monday, June 7, 1999 Published at 19:51 GMT 20:51 UK


Burns tactics hands McRae lead

McRae: Will be unwilling first car on the road for the final day

Britain's leading two rally drivers have both headed the standings on day two of the Acropolis Rally in Greece.

Sam Lloyd reports from Greece
Subaru's Richard Burns ended the day as leader but was penalised 30 seconds for returning to the garage too late.

That move left Colin McRae on top, although Burns admitted afterwards that his move had been a tactical decision to deliberately drop back in the running order for the final day.

"I'm sure this decision will prove worth its weight in gold tomorrow," he said. "Last year I was first on the road and I know how frustrating it was."

McRae said he was not worried by the prospect of leading the way.

"We really wanted to end the day in third or fourth to make the most of the better conditions," said the Scot.

"But it does not worry me too much. Last year, being second on the road, I scored fastest time on the opening stage, so we'll see what happens."

Tommi Makinen and Carlos Sainz are sandwiched between the two Britons in second and third.

Early retirements

The first stage of the second day claimed three notable casualties with overnight leader Marcus Gronholm and world championship co-leader Didier Auriol both retiring.

Auriol, who was in seventh position, crashed out when his Toyota's suspension was damaged after hitting a rock.

Gronholm also retired after the Finn got water in his engine having crossed a stream.

And Sweden's Thomas Radstrom was also forced out of the race at this stage, before Burns dominated the day with a masterly display of driving.

Only McRae was able to make any inroads into his lead while Makinen slipped back from second after the morning stages to a distant third.

The Finn, who is seeking a third successive world title, lost more time in the afternoon special stages.

His impetus had already been checked in the morning's third special stage because there were too many spectators on the road.

Standings after day two:

  • 1 C McRae (Gbr) Ford Focus 1hr 20mins 3.1secs
  • 2 T Makinen (Fin) Mitsubishi at 8.7secs
  • 3 C Sainz (Spa) Toyota Corolla 13.5
  • 4 R Burns (Gbr) 13.6
  • 5 F Loix (Bel) Mitsubishi 17.6
  • 6 J Kankkunen (Fin) Subaru 23.4
  • 7 P Liatti (Ita) Seat Cordoba 44.4
  • 8 F Delecour (Fra) Peugeot 206 2min 11.6sec
  • 9 M Martin (Est) Toyota Corolla 2:38.2
  • 10 A Schwarz (Ger) Skoda 3:40.0

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