McRae slips back to fourth

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Colin McRae slipped back to fourth place at the end of the second day of the Catalunya Rally yesterday, but the Scotsman's Subaru team-mate, Piero Liatti, was sharing the lead with the defending world champion, Tommi Makinen, in his Mitsubishi, setting up an intriguing third and final leg today.

McRae, the overnight leader, held on to his position after a further three stages yesterday morning. But his hopes of a third consecutive victory in Spain were dampened when he had to stop to change a wheel after a puncture on Special Stage 11.

"Even though we were nearing the end of the stage, it would have been silly to try to get to the end, especially as the next stage was another long one," McRae said.

The seven stages yesterday saw a continuation of the first day's tense drama, with only three seconds separating Liatti, McRae and Makinen at one point. The day ended with the top two on exactly the same time, with Gilles Panizzi in third place, 2min 30sec behind, and McRae 3:32 off the pace.