Burns predicting close run-in

Richard Burns says the race for the World Rally Championship could go all the way after another consistent finish in Rally Australia kept him on top of the points table.

The former world champion took his Peugeot to third place behind the Subaru of Norway's Petter Solberg and the Citroen of France's Sebastien Loeb. Although he was not involved in the two-way battle for the win, he increased his lead in the points standings after the reigning champion, Marcus Gronholm, crashed out in his Peugeot early on.

Burns has not predicted winning the title but has made the most of his opportunities to head the table from Carlos Sainz (Citroen).

Burns now heads the table on 55 points with Solberg and Sainz tied in second on 48 and Loeb fourth on 45. "That's another third place, which is perfect," he said. He had been concerned going into the rally that as championship leader he would clear the road of debris for his rivals as he would have to start first. But Burns survived that pitfall and went on to claim a podium finish.

"We're still at the top," he said. "There are three Tarmac rallies coming then Rally GB, none of them easy or predictable. We'll see."

Solberg also kept himself in the title race and admitted he was doing his best to remain in with a chance of lifting the crown. "I'm hoping everything will work out for me," he said. "I like Tarmac very much."