SS9, Agios Theodoros: Auriol's turn at the top

After topping the times on Saturday's opening two stages of the Cyprus Rally, Carlos Sainz was bumped down into second place on SS9 Agios Theodoros by a charging Didier Auriol

SS9, Agios Theodoros: Auriol's turn at the top

The 9.61km stage is the shortest of the day and took under 10 minutes for the drivers to complete, but Auriol managed to edge out triple world champion Sainz's Ford Focus by just six tenths of a second. The pair retain their overall positions of sixth and fifth respectively.

Francois Delecour set the third fastest time, just ahead of Rally leader Richard Burns' Subaru. The Brit leads the overall event by 9.2s from Colin McRae, and the leading pair held station for SS9 with the Scot coming home just 0.85s behind Burns.

The British duo, who finished one-two in McRae's favour last time out in Argentina, have matched each other for pace this morning and have not been more than a second apart on the three stages so far.

Overnight leader Marcus Gronholm finished sixth on SS9 and has slipped to third overall. The Finn is running first on the road and is likely suffering from having to do much of the clearing of surface dust.

Burns' Subaru team mate Toshio Arai finished eighth behind the privateer Toyota Corolla of Pasi Hagstroem, while Freddy Loix, who is suffering from front driveshaft problems, managed to limp through to the end of the stage, finishing a creditable ninth. The Belgian is the sole remaining Mitsubishi after team mate Tommi Makinen crashed out yesterday.

The only major casualty of the stage was Kenneth Eriksson whose persistent turbo problems from yesterday continued to plague the Swede's Hyundai this morning. The alternator on Eriksson's Accent WRC finally gave up the ghost on SS9, forcing him to retire.

For SS9 Agios Theodoros results click here.

For full results table click here.

For full entry list click here.

For the itinerary click here.

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