A classic in the making

This weekend's Rally Great Britain is being tipped as a classic before it has even begun

A classic in the making

The 160-strong entry includes seven manufacturers fielding 19 high-tech, flame-spitting World Rally Cars, all gunning for glory in the Welsh forests where the World Championship will be decided between Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm and Subaru's Richard Burns.

Wednesday morning's shakedown session in the Forest of Dean allowed teams to shake out last-minute bugs from their cars. Its significance was not lost on Gronholm, whose Peugeot suffered hydraulic pressure problems in its complex transmission system, but the problem is believed to have been cured during the session.

Another Finn to hit trouble was Tommi Makinen, whose Mitsubishi slid off the road and sustained slight damage to its front end. Hyundai's Kenneth Eriksson struck low fuel pressure woes, but the Swede is confident this has been cured for Thursday evening's first stage.

Burns, meanwhile, was reckoned by most to have set the fastest time over the shakedown course, the Englishman working through various compounds of tyre. Ford's Colin McRae only completed a couple of runs on the stage, which was universally hailed as "very slippery" after the recent bad weather.

Rather than starting in number sequence, the cars will start Leg One in World Championship order. The rally starts in Cardiff at 18.30 on Thursday before the first stage, the Cardiff Superspecial - a purpose-built, 1.5-mile crowd pleaser located in the docklands area of the city.

The rally proper will begin in the Welsh forests at 07.30 on Friday morning and, 16 stages and 237.12 miles later, ends in Margam, near Swansea, at 13.40 on Sunday before the finishing ceremony back in Cardiff at 15.56 (all GMT).


10 Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautainen (Peugeot 206 WRC)
3 Richard Burns/Robert Reid (Subaru Impreza WRC2000)
5 Colin McRae/Nicky Grist (Ford Focus WRC)
6 Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya (Ford Focus WRC)
1 Tommi Makinen/Risto Mannisenmaki (Mitubishi Lancer Evolution)
9 Francois Delecour/Daniel Grataloup (Peugeot 206 WRC)
19 Gilles Panizzi/Herve Panizzi (Peugeot 206 WRC)
4 Juha Kankkunen/Juha Repo (Subaru Impreza WRC2000)
17 Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen (SEAT Cordoba WRC E3)
16 Petter Solberg/Phillip Mills (Subaru Impreza WRC)
14 Kenneth Eriksson/Staffan Parmander (Hyundai Accent WRC)
7 Didier Auriol/Denis Giraudet (SEAT Cordoba WRC E3)
2 Freddy Loix/Sven Smeets (Mitsubishi Carisma GT)
22 Toshiro Arai/Roger Freeman (Subaru Impreza WRC99)
8 Toni Gardemeister/Paavo Lukander (SETA Cordoba WRC E3)
11 Armin Schwarz/Manfred Hiemer (Skoda Octavia WRC)
18 Tapio Laukkanen/Kaj Lindstrom (Ford Focus WRC)
12 Luis Climent/Alex Romani (Skoda Octavia WRC)
15 Alister McRae/David Senior (Hyundai Accent WRC)
20 Gwyndaf Evans/Howard Davies (SEAT Cordoba WRC E3)


1999 Richard Burns/Robert Reid (Subaru)
1998 Richard Burns/Robert Reid (Subaru)
1997 Colin McRae/Nicky Grist (Subaru)
1996 Armin Schwarz/Denis Giraudet (Toyota)*
1995 Colin McRae/Derek Ringer (Subaru)
* - not a round of World Championship

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