RALLYING; Cool Burns finds glory in Greece

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S RICHARD Burns kept his nerve and his overnight lead to win the Acropolis Rally in Greece yesterday.

Burns, winning his first rally since switching to Subaru from Mitsubishi at the end of last season, beat Spain's Carlos Sainz in a Toyota while the reigning world champion, Tommi Makinen of Finland, was third in a Mitsubishi. Makinen, seeking a fourth successive world title, leads the overall standings after eight legs.

Burns, who along with his long-time co-driver Robert Reid finished second behind his team-mate Juha Kankkunen in the previous round at the Argentinian Rally, dominated the four days of competition to win 13 of the 21 special stages.

"I'm ecstatic to win here because of what happened in Argentina," said Burns. "It's the perfect way to come back and it proves the car and tyres are stronger than anything else.

"All the others were pushing hard and they ran into problems. We could afford to ease off on the last three stages."

It was far from error-free for Burns, who took a deliberate 30-second penalty on Monday and then on Tuesday spun so badly that he was just inches away from going over a precipice. But Burns refused to slip up yesterday and fended off Sainz by more than a minute while Makinen was 3 minutes 40 seconds off the pace.

Makinen leads the overall standings by four points from France's Didier Auriol with the two-time world champion Sainz a further three points in arrears.