SS7, Platres: Sainz quickest, Burns takes lead

Ford's Carlos Sainz had a subdued first leg on Friday, but the Spaniard seems intent on homing in on the leaders on Saturday by setting the fastest time on the first stage of Leg Two, the re-run of the 11.99km Platres section

SS7, Platres: Sainz quickest, Burns takes lead

Sainz is second in the world championship behind Tommi Makinen, but the Finn retired on the first leg yesterday (Friday) after crashing his Mitsubishi Lancer, so with Sainz's fastest stage time, he is heading in the right direction to close the gap on the four-time World Champion.

Sainz's team mate Colin McRae was second fastest through Platres, ensuring that the Scot moves up to third in the leaderboard. But less than a second behind McRae was the Subaru of Richard Burns. The Englishman now has the overall lead of the rally following overnight leader Marcus Gronholm setting a time 20 seconds off the pace of the leaders. The World Champion may be suffering as a result of his Peugeot 206 WRC being the first car out on the stages, clearing the route for those behind.

Just behind Burns in fourth is the other remaining Subaru Impreza, piloted by Toshihiro Arai. Peugeot's Didier Auriol and the third Ford of Francois Delecour round out the top six stage times.

Further back Kenneth Eriksson, who looked so strong in his Hyundai Accent until turbo boost problems stymied his efforts on SS6 yesterday, is dropping further out of contention with a similar turbo problem affecting his car. The Swede dropped nearly 40 seconds on the leaders and is set to continue to struggle at least until the first service area after SS10.

Another driver suffering this morning is Freddy Loix in the remaining works Mitsubishi. The Belgian's Carisma is being hindered by front left driveshaft problems which again will not be looked at until service.

For SS7 Platres results click here.

For full results table click here.

For full entry list click here.

For the itinerary click here.

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