Burns silences doubters

Richard Burns confounded those who didn't believe his Pirelli tyres could do the business in Spain by leading the Catalunya Rally after the first day.

Burns silences doubters

Despite battling against torrential rain for the morning's three stages, Burns was fastest on the opening two tests to carve out a lead that he was not to lose.

In the afternoon the roads dried but the corners were liberally coated with mud as the stages were being run for the second time.

Burns had to cope with vast amounts of mud dragged onto the road by cars on the first run but still managed another top time to maintain his lead.

In the afternoon Colin McRae pressed Burns the closest and returned to Lloret de Mar just eight seconds adrift of his British rival with Carlos Sainz already dropping back but still holding third place.

Today's action also saw a stunning fastest time for Armin Schwarz in the Skoda, the Czech team's first ever fastest time at this level.

For some time people expected the time to be changed because of some error in the
system but the surprise result proved correc t and the German, whose only WRC event win was here in 1991, spent the afternoon with an ear to ear grin saying "Told you so" to all those who doubted his and the car's ability...

Tomorrow's action centres on Tarragona, east of Barcelona, and is a marathon day of driving despite there being just five stages.

One of them, run twice, is the longest of the event and takes place on much more abrasive asphalt than today's roads north of Lloret.

Weather forecasts are inconclusive, varying between cool but dry to 100 per cent rain.

As it is April Fool's Day no one is making any rash predictions about the likely outcome for this event...

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Catalunya Rally update after stage 3

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