Brits battle for Catalunya lead

Colin McRae leads into the second half of day two of the Rally Catalunya, but has seen his advantage slashed dramatically by the flying Richard Burns

Brits battle for Catalunya lead

The Subaru driver led the event overnight but lost time this morning with gearbox problems, allowing McRae to take over at the head of the field, only for the Scot to escape a near-miss on stage eight.

'We arrived slightly too fast at a junction,' he explained. 'The car slid wide and the engine stalled. I guess we lost about ten seconds restarting.

'Apart from that everything was good so we're still happy.'

Burns is now just 3.3s behind McRae, but his Subaru team mate Juha Kankkunen may be forced to retire after crashing on the La Riba 1 stage. He limped back to service but is now 31st overall.

Carlos Sainz runs third, ahead of Tommi Makinen. The Finn was fastest on SS8 but criticised spectator control on the stage.

'There were many spectators in the stage, with lots of cars parked much too close to the side of the road,' he complained.

Overall positions after stage eight:







































































































1


Colin McRae


Ford Focus


1h54m41.5s


2


Richard Burns


Subaru Impreza


1h54m44.8s


3


Carlos Sainz


Ford Focus


1h55m00.3s


4


Tommi Makinen


Mitsubishi Lancer


1h55m05.0s


5


Francois Delecour


Peugeot 206


1h55m33.1s


6


Gilles Panizzi


Peugeot 206


1h55m36.6s


7


Marcus Gronholm


Peugeot 206


1h55m55.3s


8


Freddy Loix


Mitsubishi Carisma


1h56m44.6s


9


Markko Martin


Toyota Corolla


1h57m17.0s


10


Armin Schwarz


Skoda Octavia


1h57m18.9s


11


Didier Auriol


SEAT Cordoba


1h57m20.2s


12


Andrea Navarra


Toyota Corolla


1h57m31.6s


13


Toni Gardemeister


SEAT Cordoba


1h57m49.5s


14


Henrik Lundgaard


Toyota Corolla


1h57m56.4s


15


Andrea Dallavilla


Subaru Impreza


1h58m21.0s


16


Luis Climent


Skoda Octavia


1h59m32.3s


17


Fabrice Morel


Peugeot 206


2h01m01.0s


18


Kenneth Eriksson


Hyundai Accent


2h02m01.6s


19


Renato Travaglia


Peugeot 306


2h0m35.2s


20


Abdullah Bakhashab


Toyota Corolla


2h02m43.6s

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