Panizzi enjoys a victorious return

Gilles Panizzi marked his return after more than five months out by guiding his Peugeot to his first World Championship victory in the Corsica Rally yesterday.

Gilles Panizzi marked his return after more than five months out by guiding his Peugeot to his first World Championship victory in the Corsica Rally yesterday.

The Frenchman's team-mate and compatriot François Delecour completed a brilliant weekend for Peugeot by finishing second, with Spain's Carlos Sainz (Ford) third.

England's Richard Burns carved out a fourth-place finish in his Subaru, while the championship leader Marcus Gronholm had to settle for fifth and saw his overall lead slashed to two points over Burns.

The reigning champion Tommi Makinen slid off at a tight right-hand corner on stage 13 and hit a French photographer who was standing in a restricted area, breaking the man's pelvis and damaging his ribs.

Italy's Luca Pedersoli crashed his Fiat Punto two stages later as the rally was halted for almost two hours. Four spectators were involved in the incident but escaped with cuts and bruises.

The two accidents followed Colin McRae's spectacular crash in his Ford Focus on Saturday's middle leg, when he suffered a broken cheekbone and a bruised lung and had to be cut from his car by a fire crew.

McRae, third in the overall standings, faces a race against time to be fit for the San Remo Rally in in two weeks' time.

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