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   Sunday, 10 March, 2002, 13:35 GMT
Panizzi seals Corsica win
Gilles Panizzi
Gilles Panizzi led a Peugeot 1-2-3
Click here for final results

Frenchman Gilles Panizzi won the Rally of Corsica on Sunday, leading a clean sweep of the podium for his Peugeot team.

Panizzi was the comfortable winner of the third event of the 2002 world championship and was followed by team-mates Marcus Gronholm and Britain's Richard Burns.

"On this rally no one was able to come and get me," said Panizzi, who won nine of the 16 stages on the island's twisty roads.

There is the possibility that he may have broken something in his hand but it is nothing serious

Ford spokesman
on Colin McRae

Another Briton, Colin McRae, was less fortunate.

The Scot was airlifted to hospital as a precaution after crashing out of the penultimate stage of the rally.

Two years after he fractured a cheekbone in the same event, McRae's Ford Focus WRC went off the road five kilometres into the 15th 'Penitencier Coti 2' run.

The Scot was briefly trapped in his car before managing to pull himself free and being sent to hospital with a hand injury.

"He's being taken to hospital by helicopter and there is the possibility that he may have broken something in his hand but it is nothing serious," a Ford spokesman said.

McRae had earlier posted the fastest time on the day's opening stage but remained almost two minutes behind leader Gilles Panizzi.

Gronholm's second place was good enough to extend his lead at the head of the world championship standings.

The Finn now has 18 points, with Panizzi tied second on 10 with another Finnish driver Tommi Makinen, who retired on Saturday after skidding off the wet asphalt.

"I'm still not an asphalt specialist, but second isn't so bad," Gronholm said.

Defending champion Burns lies in fifth position on seven points after his third place in Corsica.

"This is only the start of the season," said the Englishman. "I lost a bit of time yesterday (Saturday) in difficult race conditions."

Sunday also saw the demise of Ford's Francois Duval, who left the road shortly after puncturing a tyre.

Skoda's veteran Swede Kenneth Eriksson withdrew with car failure.


Leading finishers in the Rally of Corsica:

1. Gilles Panizzi (France) Peugeot three hours, 54 minutes and 40.3 seconds
2. Marcus Gronholm (Finland) Peugeot + 40.5 seconds
3. Richard Burns (Britain) Peugeot + 52.4
4. Philippe Bugalski (France) Citroen + 2:02.2
5. Petter Solberg (Norway) Subaru + 2:28.2
6. Carlos Sainz (Spain) Ford + 2:32.8
7. Francois Delecour (France) Mitsubishi + 5:07.8
8. Markko Martin (Estonia) Ford + 5:20.0
9. Freddy Loix (Belgium) Hyundai + 6:13.8
10. Alister McRae (Britain) Mitsubishi + 6:32.5

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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Sport's Greg Strange
"This was a tremedous victory for Peugeot"
 Britain's Colin McRae
"You're always liable to come unstuck"
 Colin McRae's co-driver Nicky Grist
"We've had nothing but bad luck"
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