Sainz wins, as title battle hots up

Carlos Sainz produced a dominant performance to win the first ever FIA World Rally Championship Cyprus Rally. The Spaniard led from start to finish, heading his team mate Colin McRae over the line to bounce right back into the battle for the championship. Four rounds remain and the top four title-chasing crews are covered by just seven points.

Sainz wins, as title battle hots up

For the moment, however, Sainz will be concerned only with celebrating his first win since the 1998 Rally of New Zealand and Ford's second 1-2 finish of the year. It is also a result that takes him level with Juha Kankkunen at the head of the win table with 23 WRC victories each.

Second place fell to Colin McRae with Peugeot's Francois Delecour third. Richard Burns survived a string of problems to take fourth and stay right in the title hunt but he will need Subaru to raise its game on the reliability front of he is to take the battle to the wire.

The FIA World Rally Championship now moves to Corsica (which has moved from its usual May date) and San Remo for a double dose of intense asphalt action before the title battle reaches its climax in Australia and Britain.

For championship leader Marcus Gronholm this is a crucial time in the series. He lacks serious experience of the next three events while McRae has won all four remaining rounds in the past and Burns the final two.

On paper it would be the most likely scenario to see the Brits fighting all the way to the Network Q Rally GB before the title battle is over.

For the full results
click HERE.

FIA World Rally Championship after 10 of 14 rounds
Drivers
1, Marcus Gronholm, 44pts
2, Colin McRae, 42pts
3, Richard Burns, 41pts
4, Carlos Sainz, 37pts
5, Tommi Makinen, 28pts
6, Juha Kankkunen, 18pts

Manufacturers
1, Ford, 79pts
2, Subaru, 64pts
3, Peugeot, 58pts
4, Mitsubishi, 35pts
5, Skoda, 8pts
6, SEAT, 7pts

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McRae: Gruelling day awaits drivers in Cyprus
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