Day 2: Burns strikes trouble

Markko Martin emerged from the second day of Rally Finland with an enormous lead of 1m13s after major challenger Richard Burns lost time with a wheel bearing failure on his Peugeot 206

Day 2: Burns strikes trouble

The Englishman had made inroads into Martin's lead throughout the morning, setting fastest times on SS13 and SS15, although the Estonian hit back with the quickest time on SS16.

However, it all went wrong for Burns on the final stage of the day, when a failing wheel bearing caused him to slow, costing him 57s. Worryingly for Peugeot, this appears to be a recurrence of the problem that forced Marcus Gronholm out of the rally this morning, and that may also have accounted for Harri Rovanpera.

This left Martin in the clear, and looking secure after electrical trouble this morning. "Today was like a usual rally second day for us," he said. "We normally have something strange happen and today we had electrical problems which made the car very difficult to drive. In the end everyone else had more problems, so that's good, but I was getting frustrated when we had the problems.

Martin denied that the multitude of problems would make him nervous for tomorrow's final leg, as the Estonian faces a potential seocnd WRC win. "Why should I be," he responded. "It's just another day in the office."

Whilst Burns' trouble has ended the prospect of a battle for the lead, it has created an incredibly tight battle for second. Fourth place driver Petter Solberg set the fastest time on SS17 to move within half a second of Burns, with Carlos Sainz sandwiched between the two.

Colin McRae's day went from bad to worse following his time penalty after SS14. Pushing hard to recover the lost time, the Scot rolled on SS16, forcing him to retire from the event. Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb was thus boosted to fifth overall, ahead of Subaru's Tommi Makinen.

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