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Last Updated: Friday, 11 November 2005, 08:21 GMT
McRae third as Loeb crashes out
Colin McRae
McRae get airborne in Australia
Colin McRae is third in the Rally Australia after a day of high-profile retirements in the season-ending event.

Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb crashed into a tree, following Marcus Gronholm out of the reckoning.

His accident lifted McRae up to second for a while as the Scot put in a strong performance in his Skoda Fabia.

Norway's Petter Solberg leads in his Subaru after being fastest in three of Friday's stages, and he ended the day 46 seconds ahead of Francois Duval.

Frenchman Loeb, whose team have also sealed the manufacturers' title, had earlier clawed back some his deficit on Solberg by taking stage seven.

He then took the lead by winning stage eight before going off the gravel road on the next leg. Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena escaped unhurt from their crash.

Today has gone completely to plan... if we can do the same tomorrow then who knows what sort of result is possible?
Colin McRae

After 11 stages, Solberg was back in the lead ahead of Citroen's Duval, with McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist 1.4 seconds behind the Belgian.

Earlier, the Peugeot team's hopes of a big showing before they bow out of the World Rally Championship were ended.

Two-time world champion Gronholm hit a rock in his Peugeot 307 and damaged the suspension so badly he could not continue.

The Finn had hoped to take outright second place in the drivers' championship after being locked on 71 points apiece with Solberg coming into the event.

The team's number two driver Daniel Carlsson of Sweden also fell foul of the tough Aussie course.

Carlsson and co-driver Mattias Andersson were lucky to escape uninjured after their car slammed into a tree and burst into flames.

Rally Australia standings after 11 stages:
1. Petter Solberg (Nor) Subaru, 1 hr 14 mins 58.0 secs
2. Francois Duval (Bel) Citroen, 1:15.44.6
3. Colin McRae (Sco) Skoda, 1:15.46.0
4. Harri Rovanpera (Fin) Mitsubishi, 1:16.01.5
5. Manfred Stohl (Aut) Citroen, 1:16.11.4
6. Gigi Galli (Ita) Mitsubishi 1:16.18.2
7. Toni Gardemeister (Fin) Ford 1:16.05.6
8. Roman Kresta (Cze) Ford 1:16.14.8
9. Dani Sola (Spain) Ford 1:16.58.9
10. Chris Atkinson (Aus) Subaru 1:17.07.3

Stage winners: Solberg (SS1, SS5, SS6), Gronholm (SS2), Atkinson (SS3, SS4, SS9, SS10), Loeb (SS7, SS8), Rovanpera (SS11).

Principal retirements: Daniel Carlsson (Swe) Peugeot after SS3, Xavier Pons (Spa) Citroen after SS5, Antony Warmbold (Ger) Ford after SS6, Marcus Gronholm (Fin) Peugeot after SS7, Sebastien Loeb (Fra) Citroen after SS9




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Solberg & Gronholm begin battle
10 Nov 05 |  Rallying
Skoda hand McRae Australia drive
27 Oct 05 |  Rallying

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

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