Acropolis Rally: Leg One Report

Colin McRae leads the Acropolis Rally after today's (Friday) first five stages, but the Scot knows that part of his performance has come from his start position of fifth on the road. Early cars have been cleaning the stages and McRae's Ford Focus has clearly had the best of the surface today

Acropolis Rally: Leg One Report

Ironically, the driver who has suffered most today was Richard Burns, World Championship leader and first car into the five stages. Tomorrow Burns will start from fifth spot and it is McRae who takes over the 'sweeper' role.

Mitsubishi is already on its way back home after both Tommi Makinen and Freddy Loix retired with failed wheel hubs. There will need to be an investigation to see why both cars retired with seemingly identical
failures on the first four stages.

The intense heat of the Greek stages has taken its toll on the crews as well. At the end of the final stage Robert Reid, Burns' co-driver, collapsed with heat exhaustion. He recovered with the team doctor's help, but later attempts to overturn the new FIA ruling that crews must wear full fireproof overalls came to nought and the crews will have to suffer dangerously again tomorrow.

While Stephen Finlay has pushed his Ford Focus to an amazing overnight sixth, Peugeot Challenge winner Mark Fisher became a spectator on SS3 after his prize-drive Peugeot 206WRC suffered a variety of suspension problems and was unable to continue.

Alister McRae is also out of the event after steering rack problems eventually sent him OTL at the final service, the Scot joining his own team-mate Kenneth Eriksson on the retirements list.

For a full list of Leg 1 times click 'here'

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