MOTOR SPORT; Crash signals end of the road for McRae

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The Independent Online
COLIN McRAE crashed out of the Rally Finland yesterday after a rear wheel of his Subaru hit a tree and locked during stage four. McRae lost over three minutes and, faced with two more timed special stages without a repair, he retired. He was second at the time.

Tommi Makinen, driving a Lancer for the UK-based Mitsubishi Team, now leads the three-day rally and is on course to make it a record-breaking five consecutive wins in his home event.

Carlos Sainz, who leads the world championship after nine of 13 rounds, is second overall in a Toyota. He led after stage two until Makinen set the fastest time in stage three.

His countryman Juha Kankkunen, joint fastest on stage one with Sainz and driving a British-built Ford Escort is third. The Finnish champion, Marcus Gronholm, is fourth in a Toyota. The Frenchman Didier Auriol is fifth despite finishing the second time stage with ominous noises from the transmission of his Toyota after losing fifth gear. Richard Burns, team-mate to Makinen, on his first visit to this high-speed event, is sixth.

In motorcycling, Max Biaggi outpaced his rivals by more than 0.4sec yesterday to take pole position for tomorrow's 500cc Czech Grand Prix. Biaggi, riding a Kanemoto Honda, recorded 2min 02.087sec on his fastest lap over the 5.403km (3.35 mile) circuit.

The world championship leader, Michael Doohan, was second fastest on his Repsol Honda with Jean-Michel Bayle, returning after injury, third on a Yamaha.