Rallying: Cow crash puts paid to Makinen

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Carlos Sainz of Spain and the Frenchman Francois Delecour were in joint first place in the Tour of Corsica rally after yesterday's second day saw the hopes of the Finnish world champion, Tommi Makinen, ruined.

Sainz, in a four-wheel drive Ford Escort, and Delecour, in a lightweight two-wheel drive Peugeot 306, had exactly the same time after the day's six timed stages in changing conditions with occasional downpours.

Gilles Panizzi of France, the overnight leader, was third, nine seconds back in the second Peugeot, while Britain's Colin McRae was fourth, a further 10 seconds behind and also still in contention for victory today.

McRae lost time in the morning because of a wrong choice of tyres but then recovered superbly, clocking the best time in four tests in his Subaru Impreza.

Makinen, who had started the day sixth, had to pull out after bumping into a cow with his Mitsubishi Lancer halfway through the day's first test, the longest of this year's rally, over 48.9 kilometres from Vero to Liamone.

Both Makinen and his co-driver, Seppo Harjanne, escaped injury, but the car was destroyed and they were unable to restart.

Yesterday's gruelling first section on twisting asphalt roads north of Ajaccio went to Sainz, who gained 46 seconds on Panizzi. Delecour was second fastest, 10 seconds slower than Sainz, while Panizzi slipped to third. "I made the wrong choice of tyres," Panizzi said.

Sainz, who was four seconds behind Delecour after Liamone, was slightly faster than the Frenchman in three of the next four stretches despite electrical problems. "The windshield wipers stopped working at one point while it was pouring and the horn blew by itself for some reason, but apart from that, everything was fine," Sainz said.

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