Day 2am: Burns stays on course

Richard Burns is perfectly placed to take his first win of 2002 after stretching his lead on the second morning of Rally New Zealand. The Brit set the pace on two of the three stages to increase his advantage to 45.9s

Day 2am: Burns stays on course

Peugeot team-mate Marcus Gronholm was the only other driver to claim a stage honour, and the would-be champion has overtaken Harri Rovanpera for second in his pursuit of Burns. Rovanpera continues to hold onto the final podium position, ensuring the silver cars hold a one-two-three overall.

There's over a minute separating the 206s from the 'best of the rest'. A fine battle for fourth was brewing between the Subarus of Petter Solberg and Tommi Makinen and the surprise package of Jani Paasonen in the Mitsubishi. However, on SS11, at 59 kilometres the longest of the event, the Finn rolled his Lancer and was forced to retire.

This left the Imprezas to fight it out for fourth. Makinen held the position at the start of the day, but Solberg has turned a one-second deficit into a nine-second advantage.

Paasonen's retirement has moved Markko Martin into the final points-paying position, while team-mate Carlos Sainz has put in a charging run to overhaul the Hyundais and slot into seventh.

There are seven stages still to run today and plenty of opportunities for the order at the front of the rally to be turned on its head. However, Burns seems to be at the peak of his form and will take some stopping now.

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Day 1: Burns in imperious form

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