Peugeot pugilists lead San Remo after leg one

The fighting on the stages almost spilled over into the service area today as tensions ran high in the Peugeot camp. Francois Delecour was incensed to discover that his team mate Gilles Panizzi appeared to have started his recce for the San remo Rally earlier than permitted and after the first pair of stages the simmering row threatened to boil over into a full-blown fight

Peugeot pugilists lead San Remo after leg one

Delecour was only just restrained at the service control from taking a swing at his team mate who was leading the rally with ease. Delecour slipped into second spot at the expense of Richard Burns who, despite setting the fastest time on the opening stage, could not maintain his pace over the remaining seven tests today.

In a repeat of last month's Corsica Rally, Peugeot held the top two places with Burns in his Subaru rounding off the podium spots as the three drivers eased clear of the pack.

Carlos Sainz and his Ford team mate Piero Liatti held fourth and fifth places at the end of a mainly dry opening day (there was still a lot of moisture coating the roads under the trees), while World Championship leader Marcus Gronholm was hanging on to the final point in sixth in the third Peugeot.

After a steady start Colin McRae found his confidence growing and by the end of the day he was up to eighth, a remarkable drive given that he is still not fully up to speed physically. The Scot was looking very tired by early evening and he took the opportunity to grab a few minutes' sleep before tackling the final two stages...

Battle resumes in the mountains above San Remo tomorrow (Saturday) with everything to play for. As the positions stand, Burns would move ahead of Gronholm in the title race by one point with Sainz and McRae a further three and five points adrift respectively. Still four drivers covered by just six points with a possible 20 still to go after this event. Any bets yet?

Click here for the latest standings.

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