First victory for Burns

Rallying
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The Independent Online
Britain's Richard Burns roared to his first victory in a major international race as he won the Rally of New Zealand yesterday.

"Everybody is absolutely over the moon, especially me," said the Reading- based Burns. "To win what's only my fifth event with Mitsubishi is just fantastic. This is by far the biggest victory of my career and I'm beside myself with joy."

Burns was the sole survivor of the Mitsubishi works team after their lead driver Tommi Makinen crashed out on Sunday. He started the final leg 47sec ahead of the Swede Kenneth Eriksson.

Burns, who won the British championship in 1993 when he was 22, held on during yesterday's six stages to restrict the Subaru factory drivers Eriksson and Piero Liatti of Italy to second and third places respectively. Eriksson increased his lead over Liatti in the Asia-Pacific Championship.

The New Zealander Joe McAndrew finished fourth in his Subaru Legacy, ahead of the Australian Michael Guest.

The Czech driver Emil Triner won the Formula Two class for two-litre, two-wheel-drive, non-turbo cars in his works Skoda after the Spanish driver Jesus Puras broke down while leading on the last day.

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