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  Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 16:45 GMT
Burns: I'm faster than McRae
Colin McRae (right) and Richard Burns
Burns says his relationship with McRae has improved
Outgoing world champion Richard Burns believes he has supplanted Colin McRae as Britain's fastest rally driver.

McRae holds the all-time record for world championship wins after his two victories this season, while Burns has not won once for rallying's dominant team Peugeot in 2002.

But Burns reckons his consistency over the last three seasons means he can now claim to be superior to McRae, who won the title in 1995.

Burns said: "Over the last three years I've set the most fastest [stage] times. Colin is the most dramatic and flamboyant [driver], but I'm the fastest.


Colin has a go at it, falls off and starts again
Richard Burns on arch-rival Colin McRae

"In 2000 I was the only driver to score fastest times on 14 rallies out of 14. There aren't many people who can claim to have that spread as well as the speed.

"Of course I would like to have a few more wins, which Colin has."

Both men have been put in the shade this year by Burns' team-mate Marcus Gronholm, who won his second title with two rounds to spare.

Burns and McRae have often had a sticky relationship, and it reached its nadir last year when the two were battling for the title.

That tussle was settled in Burns' favour when McRae crashed out of the Rally GB while leading.

But Burns reckons that their relationship has improved this year.

Marcus Gronholm in his Peugeot
Gronholm has left everyone in his wake this season
He believes McRae's ex-co-driver Nicky Grist was partly to blame for the problems.

Grist parted company with McRae last month, with the two admitting to a strained relationship.

"The situation with Colin is much better this year," Burns said in an interview with Motorsport News.

"There were times last year when Colin tried to wind me up and I think a lot of that came from Nicky.

"But it didn't work. It backfired horribly. I'm not going to gloat about it, it is not something I think about. All it did was damage our relationship."

Burns says he no longer cares that McRae is Britain's most popular rally driver.

"The biggest thing with Colin is that he is such an easy person to be a fan of," said Burns.

"He says what he thinks, he is dramatic and he's the sort of person who lives on the edge in everything he does. He has a go at it, falls off and starts again.

"I'm the opposite way, I build up. It's more difficult to be my fan."

"People have been fans of Colin for 10 years. There's nothing I can do about it. It used to annoy me, it doesn't now."

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