Rally Oz, Leg Two: Burns set to pounce

Richard Burns has again played the tactical master card to give himself the best chance of taking the World Championship battle to a thrilling final round showdown on Rally GB later this month. The Englishman finished Leg Two in third, perfectly positioned for a final charge on Sunday

Rally Oz, Leg Two: Burns set to pounce

Having driven a perfectly judged opening leg to start today in fifth place on the road, the Englishman immediately set fastest time on the opening stage to power into the rally lead. Burns maintained his advantage over the next four stages, pacing himself to again determine his start position into tomorrow's crucial final leg. He will now run third on the road, immediately behind his main championship rival Marcus Gronholm, and can be as confident as possible of leading the rally again by the end of tomorrow's final four stages.

Unfortunately Burns' Subaru team mate Juha Kankkunen crashed out of the rally on today's penultimate stage when also trying to adjust his pace in order to give Burns maximum help tomorrow.

The final leg of the event takes place in the Sotico complex (formerly known as Bunnings) that features the huge jumps and dramatic watersplash that have become synonymous with Rally Australia. The complex also has the worst of the 'ball-bearing' gravel surface and so the past two days have been geared up to jockeying for road positions heading into Sunday. Ideally Burns would have preferred to lie fourth with Kankkunen third, giving him an even better road surface to work with, but with just 7.3 seconds between Burns and the luckless leader Tommi Makinen, things are looking good.

Second place is held by World Championship leader Marcus Gronholm. The likelihood is that Burns will storm into the rally lead early in tomorrow's 100kms of stages, with Gronholm slotting into second. That would leave the Finn just one point clear of Burns in the title race and set up a 'winner take all' Rally GB. It would also mean the end of the title dream for Makinen, McRae and Sainz.

To see the very latest standings, click here. And to see the schedule click here.

Remember, the times in our live rally table are in local time, which is eight hours ahead of GMT.

Visit the official Telstra Rally Australia website at www.rallyaustralia.com.au


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Burns takes lead on Leg Two - a tactical error?
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