Rallying: Delecour poised on title trail

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FRANCOIS DELECOUR and Miki Biasion, the Ford drivers, must break an Italian tradition this week to maintain their challenge in the world championship. Victory would encourage either driver to believe he can prevent Toyota's Juha Kankkunen from taking the title, writes Derick Allsop.

Kankkunen, from Finland, sits out the San Remo Rally, leaving the Frenchman, Delecour, and Biasion, of Italy, to take on Lancia, who have dominated this event since 1985. Delecour is the better placed to deny Kankkunen. Success over the next three days, and again in Spain, would take the championship to a deciding confrontation in the RAC Rally next month.

Lancia are no longer the force they were; even on home territory with the brilliant Carlos Sainz in their line-up, they may have to concede defeat this time.

The all-tarmac stages should suit Ford's Escort Cosworth and both Delecour and Biasion sense the opportunity to strike crucial blows. Biasion is, on paper, the outsider in the contest, but he has won San Remo three times and will doubtless be inspired to produce his most competitive form in front of his countrymen.