Sect. 8, Marigat 2: Glitch slows Tommi

Tommi Makkinen was beaten to the fastest time by Subaru rival Petter Solberg for the second consecutive section on the eighth timed test of the Safari Rally - but unlike the previous stage the Finn had not relaxed his pace, but was slowed by a prop shaft problem on his Mitsubishi

Sect. 8, Marigat 2: Glitch slows Tommi

Despite the glitch however, which was fixed almost immediately, Makinen was only 11 seconds behind Solberg and finished third fastest on a shortened version of the Marigat section. The four-time world champion still has a five-minute lead ahead of Harri Rovanpera on the overall leaderboard.

Solberg had another trouble-free run to take his third section win of the day. The closest the Finn came to drama was getting stuck in one of the many ruts on the dusty Kenyan roads.

"I pushed a bit that time, just to keep it interesting," said Solberg. "I went wide on one corner when I came out of the ruts in the road. But the car is running really well and it was a good stage."

Francois Delecour turned up the wick on the 60.23km test and finished second fastest just two seconds behind Solberg. But the Frenchman still has more than two minutes to make up on Armin Scwarz if he is to put the sole remaining Focus WRC up into fourth overall.

With Makinen third, Rovanpera had to settle for fourth, but the Finn was still only 16 seconds off the fastest time. And with Schwarz just two seconds further down the road in his Skoda Ocvtavia, the top five places were closer than they have been all day - covered by a mere 18 seconds.

Bruno Thiry took up sixth place in the second Ocatvia WRC, ahead of the struggling Freddy Loix in the second Mitsubishi, who must feel like he has been dealt the thin end of the wedge today.

An engine problem has developed on the Belgian's Mitsubishi Carisma GT, but the team is hoping to cure the fault by changing the head gasket at the next service. However, the task cannot be completed in the time allotted service time, so the Mitsubishi number two is likely to incur the maximum number of lateness penalties, putting him even further down the order. But with so few factory cars remaining in the rally, wherever Loix finishes he is likely to score valuable manufacturers' championship points for Mitsubishi.

The final section of the day awaits the drivers - a re-run of the Mbaruk stage. But an extra twist has been added in the form of heavy African rain. With thunder clouds looming, the dusty roads are likely to quickly become a mudbath.

For Sect. 8, Marigat results click here.

For full live timings table click here.

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