Rallying: Burns to fore as McRae pulls out

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COLIN McRAE was forced to withdraw from the Acropolis Rally yesterday because of a faulty gear box, allowing Richard Burns to regain the overall lead.

The Scottish former world champion, driving a Ford Focus, finished the 15th special stage three minutes ahead of Tommi Makinen of Finland, but was unable to start the 16th stage when his gears jammed.

Burns, penalised 30 seconds for returning to the garage too late yesterday, fared better than his Finnish team-mate, Juha Kankkunen, as the four-times world champion, who won the Argentinian Rally last month, retired with a broken axle on the 11th special stage.

The Englishman led for most of the race yesterday before deliberately taking a penalty so he would not have to lead off. Burns then regained the lead in the afternoon and he ended the second day out with a 17.2sec cushion over Spain's Carlos Sainz and 35sec ahead of Makinen.