Burns: 'McRae will win in Greece'

Richard Burns believes his rival Colin McRae is a dead cert to win the Acropolis Rally after the Subaru star wrecked his own victory chances with an off on the second stage of the third and final leg

Burns: 'McRae will win in Greece'

Burns had started the day 14.8s behind the Ford ace, but was confident of challenging for victory thanks to a more favourable road position on the rough Greek stages. But on the second stage, Burns went off, losing over two minutes, then lost a further half minute with gearbox problems.

Burns was forced to run the final sections of the 38.69km stage with the 'box in safe mode, which slows gear changes to protect the transmission.

The mishaps dropped him to seventh overall, one place out of the WRC points.

"I braked too late for a corner," explained Burns. "It was a second gear bend and I knew I was too quick, so I threw the car sideways. We went down a bank on the outside of the corner. I kept my foot in hoping to pull it back on the road, but it was too loose and too steep. We had to wait for some people to help us out.

"It's my mistake and I've only myself to blame," he added. "The two most difficult stages for Colin were always going to be those two and he's taken time from Carlos on them. I think he's going to win."

McRae conceded that he felt second-placed team mate Carlos Sainz was now his only threat for victory on the remaining five stages, but expressed surprise at his own early speed.

"We've still got pressure from Carlos," he said. "I was a bit surprised though - the stages felt good. I thought I'd lose a bit more time. Carlos was very good on the next two stages when we ran them yesterday (Saturday)."

Sainz hurt his back at the end of the morning's second stage, SS15, after landing heavily on the second of two crests. Last year, McRae took the same crests flat in sixth. This year, however, he didn't - Sainz did and landed on the second crest.

Sainz also believes McRae is the favourite to win the event, and says that is partially due to his choice of a narower tyre for the two opening stages than the Spaniard.

"I think Colin's choice was a little better, because the stages were a little looser than I expected," he said. "We'll see what happens with the next three stages, but it's looking more difficult."

Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson has said that Ford will not introduce team orders to safeguard its one-two.


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