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Sunday, November 7, 1999 Published at 10:44 GMT


Sport

Burns' win but Makinen's title

Tommi Makinen kicks up the dust in Australia

Tommi Makinen has been crowned World Rally Champion for the fourth year in a row.


British world rally driver Colin McRae: "This is a rally I knew I could win"
The Finn ended Rally Australia in third place as Britain's Richard Burns won the event from Spain's Carlos Sainz by more than 11 seconds.

Makinen's effort in his Mitsubishi was enough to ensure that no other driver can catch him in the final round of the championship, the Rally of Great Britain later this month.


[ image: This was Burns fourth world rally victory]
This was Burns fourth world rally victory
The 35-year-old triumphed exactly one week after countryman Mika Hakkinen won a second successive Formula One drivers' title in Japan.

Makinen equalled Juha Kankkunen's record of four world rally crowns, although this is the first time anyone has won so many in succession.

After a fourth career win, Subaru's Burns is now third in the drivers' championship, just seven points behind Didier Auriol who retired from the rally on the second day.

The Briton could grab runers-up spot in the championship if he repeats his British win of last November.


[ image: Carlos Sainz: Second place helped Toyota to manufacturers' title]
Carlos Sainz: Second place helped Toyota to manufacturers' title
"It was a great battle with Carlos, but it was great to do the televised stage without any nerves," said Burns of the final test, which was broadcast live.

"I had to take some risks on the second last stage to get some time difference out of Carlos, but I'm delighted to have won in Australia."

Auriol could equal Makinen's points total if he wins the final round, but would still lose the title on countback.

The Finn said: "This is just incredible - it is a fantastic feeling. Four years in a row is going to be very hard to beat.

"I'm glad I've won it here because now I can go to the British rally and try to win because I've never won it."

Toyota clinched the Manufacturers' title due to the efforts of Sainz and Auriol.

The team will withdraw from rallying at the end of the season to concentrate on Formula One.

McRae OK after smash

Britain's other top driver, Colin McRae, failed to finish the Australian event after a 100mph crash on the third of the four days.

Scot McRae admitted he and Welsh co-driver Nicky Grist were lucky to be just bruised and battered after their Ford Focus smacked head on into a eucalyptus

"I didn't have much time to think about it but I knew it was going to be a big one," he said.

"It was the kind of accident you want to forget about pretty quickly - certainly one of the biggest and most frightening I've had."

Results:

1 R Burns, Subaru Impreza (Gbr) 3hrs 44mins 31.5sec
2 C Sainz, Toyota Corolla (Spa) 3:44:43.1
3 T Makinen, Mitsubishi Lancer (Fin) 3:49:02.9
4 F Loix, Mitsubishi Lancer (Bel) 3:52:04.0
5 M Gronholm, Peugeot 206 (Fin) 3:52:33.4
6 H Rovanpera SEAT Cordoba (Fin) 3:52:44.3
7 T Radstrom Ford Focus (Swe) 3:53:011
8 T Arai Subaru Impreza (Jpn) 4:05:49.8
9 K Erikkson Hyundai Coupe (Swe) 4:05:58.4
10 M Rowe Renault Megane Coupe (Gbr) 4:06:29.1

Drivers standings

1 T Makinen, Mitsubishi Lancer (Fin) 62 points
2 D Auriol, Toyota Corolla (Fra) 52
3 R Burns, Subaru Impreza (Gbr) 45
4 C Sainz, Toyota Corolla (Spa) 44
5 J Kankunnen, Subaru Impreza (Fin) 38
6 C McRae, Ford Focus (Gbr) 23

Manufacturers standings

1 Toyota 109 pts
2 Subaru 89
3 Mitsubishi 81
4 Ford 36
5 Seat 19
6 Peugeot 11
7 Skoda 3




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