McRae and Burns on brink of Argentina one-two

Colin McRae and Richard Burns are perfectly poised to take a British one-two on Rally Argentina after spending a second consecutive day in a class of their own, with McRae comfortably in the lead more than 30 seconds ahead of his Subaru rival

McRae and Burns on brink of Argentina one-two

McRae's domination of the event continued throughout today's (Saturday's) second leg and despite trading fastest stage times with Burns, the Scot was untouchable and looks set to put his bid for the world championship back on track after failing to score on the first four events of the year. With six stages still to run, however, the Ford ace is not taking anything for granted.

"It's been hard work and the work's not over yet," said McRae. "I've been pacing myself today and trying to maintain a steady gap to Richard. I didn't need to push unless Richard attacked.

"Tomorrow's stages are harder than today, especially the last two, and so I'll be trying to adjust my pace in the morning to keep the gap to Richard and not have to push too hard on those final stages. Tomorrow is probably the hardest day, so I'm not thinking about the win just yet."

McRae saw his stage win tally cut to just two from today's seven stages, as Burns mounted a fierce challenge and won four with Tommi Makinen ending Pirelli's domination of the times with a narrow win on the final stage of the day.

"It's been pretty frantic today," said Burns. "I don't think it's likely that I can win by just taking time off Colin, but past experience of this event shows you can't ever give up and I won't. I can't do anything except keep up the pressure on Colin."

Third placed Carlos Sainz soldiered on with his niggling back injury, which had kept him up for most of the previous night. The pain subsided a little during the afternoon, but the Spaniard is just pleased to still be in the event.

"The trapped nerve in my back was very painful this morning and I really didn't think I could continue," he said. "It started to ease a little and so I didn't have to pull out [of the rally], but I can't drive any quicker and I won't improve my position unless Colin or Richard have problems. It would be great if I could stay third."

By the day's first service, none of the factory registered drivers had retired from the event, but then the rally lost both Skodas in a bizarre and frightening incident at the regroup. A water tanker was racing to assist at a bush fire on SS11, when it tipped over and landed on Bruno Thiry's Octavia WRC and hit Armin Schwarz's sister car. Thiry, who was sitting in the car at the time, was shaken but unhurt while Skoda's deputy head of motorsport, Dr Jens Pohlmann, was rushed to hospital with broken ribs and a broken pelvis. The German is known to be in a stable condition.

Just six stages stand between McRae and victory, but the final pair, Giulio Cesare and El Condor, are notoriously tough. Both are rocky and El Condor is the highest stage of the championship outside Kenya.

McRae won't be looking at the view though. Ten points from Argentina would catapult him into contention for the title, erase the memory of a dismal start to the year and make a serious improvement in his start position for Cyprus next month.

shares
comments
SS15: Makinen breaks British monopoly

Previous article

SS15: Makinen breaks British monopoly

Next article

SS16, Cura Brochero: Makinen edges it from Burns

SS16, Cura Brochero: Makinen edges it from Burns
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021