Rallying: Citroen's innovation leaves rivals trailing

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The Independent Online
FRANCE'S PHILIPPE Bugalski, driving a Citroen, leads the Rally of Catalunya with just five special stages between him and a record victory today.

Bugalski is driving a special lightweight two wheel drive version of the rally cars used by the other teams. On dry asphalt these lightweight cars are quicker than their four-wheel drive cousins.

Bugalski finished yesterday's six stages south of Barcelona with a lead of 17 seconds from fellow Frenchman Didier Auriol. Auriol's Toyota team- mate and the local hero Carlos Sainz is third.

"I didn't think I could hold off the World Rally Cars today," admitted Bugalski, who inherited the lead when his team-mate Jesus Puras could not start his car on Tuesday morning. "The stages were rough and should have been better for the others, but I'm happy to be leading. I just hope now it doesn't rain on the final day. That will lose me a lot of time."

Britain's Colin McRae set two fastest stage times in his Ford Focus despite declaring today a test day after losing seven minutes to turbo problems on Monday. The Scot lost a further five minutes with a puncture yesterday. He is 18th - almost 14 minutes behind Bugalski. Richard Burns is sixth in his Subaru after being penalised a minute for jump-starting a stage.

The world champion, Tommi Makinen, is fourth.