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  Sunday, 25 November, 2001, 13:58 GMT
Burns wins world title
Robert Reid and Richard Burns celebrate their world rally title
Reid and Burns celebrate the world rally title

This is an amazing feeling - I can't believe it
Richard Burns

Finland's 2000 world champion Marcus Gronholm won the British rally for the first time in a Peugeot.

Gronholm was two minutes and 27.1 seconds ahead of compatriot and team-mate Harri Rovanpera.

Reading-born Burns will officially become champion when he makes the 20-mile trip from the final stage at Margam to the formal finish in front of Cardiff's City Hall.

He triumphed despite winning just one of the 14 rounds - in New Zealand.

A consistent late-season run brought 29 points in the last six events.

Burns said: "It is a shame we could not win the rally, but after the first day all I was thinking about was the championship.

Richard Burns takes a break from the rain
Burns shelters from the rain between stages

"We have been so close for the past two years and we had a terrible first half of the season, but the second half has been just fantastic.

"There was a massive amount of pressure on myself and all of us before this rally

"It becomes high risk so it is a relief to come through."

The Andorra-based driver had been championship runner-up for the past two years.

On Sunday, he safely negotiated the four remaining special stages, totalling 67 miles, in the muddy south Wales forests.

The third-place finish gave Burns 44 points, two ahead of Colin McRae and three over Tommi Makinen.

McRae, the 1995 champion, and four-time champion Makinen crashed out of the race on Friday, leaving Burns with a clear shot at the title.

  Final standings
1 Richard Burns 44 points
2 Colin McRae 42
3 Tommi Makinen 41
4= Marcus Gronholm
Harri Rovanpera 36
6 Carlos Sainz 33
 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC motorsport correspondent Jonathan Legard
"Burns earned his glittering prize like a champion"
World Champion Richard Burns
"To be at the top is the best feeling"
Richard Burns' co-driver Robert Reid
"We had a few flutters"
Richard Burns' mother
"It's one of the best days of my life"

Sports Talk SPORTS TALK
Richard Burns has become the first Englishman to win the World Rally Championship New champion
Send your congratulations to Richard Burns

Richard Burns becomes Britain's first-ever World Rally champion
Burns ends title wait


A map of the site where a crash halted the Rally of Great Britain
Rally in the spotlight

Thrree-way title shoot-out on the British Rally

Burns crowning glory

Analysis

Photo Gallery

This year's rallies

CLICKABLE GUIDE

SPORTS TALK

STATISTICS

INTERNET LINK
Links to more World Rally 2001 stories are at the foot of the page.


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