SS7, La Cumbre: Sainz to the fore

Carlos Sainz became the third driver to take a stage win on the Rally Argentina by setting the fastest time on SS7 La Cumbre by a clear six seconds ahead of Tommi Makinen in second place

SS7, La Cumbre: Sainz to the fore

Despite lingering back problems the Spaniard's time moves him up into third place ahead of Makkinen in the standings with Colin McRae's overall lead still firmly intact at just under 40 seconds ahead of Richard Burns.

Despite claims that those running further down the order have an easier ride as the frontrunners sweep the stage clear - McRae, who is running 13th on the road, seemed to have throttled back on the penultimate stage of Leg One and finished sixth.

Francois Delecour however, did exactly the opposite and set the third fastest time, enabling the Frenchman to move up from 15th to 11th overall, as he struggles to regain lost ground after rolling his Ford Focus on the opening stage of the day.

The charging Richard Burns finished fourth after going fastest on the previous stage. The Subaru star had been suffering from, first power steering problems, and then fading rear brakes.

Didier Auriol came home fifth fastest despite handling problems on his Peugeot 206 WRC, while team mate Marcus Gronholm slipped to seventh in the SS7 times, but in fact moved up one place overall to sixth.

Casualties of the 23.46km stage were Freddy Loix, who rolled his Mitsubishi and Harri Rovanpera, who suffered suspension damage. Loix managed to right his Carisma with the help of spectators and continued to the end of the stage to set the 10th fastest time. The Belgian will carry on to the last stage of the day.

Rovanperra, on the other hand, was less fortunate and his Peugeot sustained suspension damage in a water splash, bringing the Finn's rally to an early close.

The final stage of Leg One takes place on Ascochinga, which is a re-run of SS4.

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