RALLYING: Beaten Auriol attacks rules

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The Independent Online
PHILIPPE BUGALSKI, of France, drove his two-wheel drive Citroen to a remarkable victory over the powerful four-wheel drive machinery of his major rivals in the Catalunya Rally in Lloret de Mar yesterday.

Bugalski cruised to victory by 31.8sec over his compatriot Didier Auriol as he won two of the final three stages to take full advantage of technical regulations which favoured his car in the all-asphalt event.

But Auriol was unhappy with the rules which helped Bugalski to his victory. "I am very happy for Philippe and for Citroen," said Auriol. "However, the rules are not fair and should be changed. It is not right that people who are committed to the sport should be penalised by those who are not."

Citroen are not taking part in the manufacturers' championship and are selecting specific races in which to enter. They cannot take points off their manufacturer rivals but their drivers earn points for finishing positions, and in this case Bugalski in effect deprived Auriol of the winner's points.

The regulations, which allowed Bugalski's car to be 270 kg lighter than his rivals and gave him a power-to-weight advantage, helped him become the first-ever Formula Two winner of a world championship rally.

Auriol, in a Toyota, won the final stage of the third leg but was unable to make any headway on the overnight leader.

The reigning champion, Tommi Makinen, driving a Mitsubishi, maintained his lead in the championship by claiming third place. The Finn won two of the day's five stages to move up from fifth position overnight to finish more than two minutes behind Bugalski. He leads the championship by three points.

His team-mate Freddy Loix performed well on his return to the sport after a serious crash in the Safari event in February, which left him with neck and back injuries. The Belgian claimed his first championship points of the season after finishing in fourth position.

The Subaru driver, Richard Burns of Britain, took sixth place.

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