Burns digs in for Martin title attack

Richard Burns believes that Markko Martin has now emerged as his biggest challenger for this year's World Rally Championship - but the Briton insists that he can keep his bid for a second title on track over the remaining events, according to this week's AUTOSPORT magazine

Burns digs in for Martin title attack

Martin's second win from four events on last weekend's Rally Finland has moved the Ford driver to within 13 points of the Englishman, behind Carlos Sainz, Marcus Gronholm, Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb. Burns says that Martin's current run of form - along with the stunning performance of Ford's still-new Focus RS WRC03 - makes the Estonian his most dangerous rival, rather than Gronholm.

"As soon as Markko got his hands on the new Focus in New Zealand, we saw that he was able to challenge Marcus on a fast gravel rally, and now he's come here and won," said Burns. "We have two fast gravel and three asphalt rallies left in the schedule and on the asphalt in Sanremo last year, Markko was quicker than his team-mates Carlos and Colin. I think he has to be the strongest threat - stronger even than Marcus."

Burns, who finished third in Finland after a final day scrap with Solberg, has yet to win this year but believes that his position atop the points standings proves he has adopted the correct approach.

He said: "I always seem to be caught in a situation on events where I have to decide between pushing like hell and thinking about points, but when the standings look like they do, the approach we've chosen has clearly worked."

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