Rallying: Kankkunen's reunion

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The Independent Online
One of rallying's most successful partnerships will re-form briefly this weekend when Nicky Grist and Juha Kankkunen lead Toyota's attack on the RAC Rally, which begins in Chester today.

Grist, from Wales, and Kankkunen, from Finland, have won the event three times and also have four world titles to their credit. They will be appearing for Toyota in a top-level event for the first time since the expiry of a one-year ban imposed on the team for serious infringements of technical regulations.

Kankkunen has been installed as favourite to win the RAC Rally, which is not part of the main world championship this year. His highly successful alliance with Grist comes to an end after the event, his co-driver having decided to move on to a new challenge by partnering Colin McRae for Subaru next season.

The Subaru, Ford and Mitsubishi teams will be among those absent, which means that rallying's top names, including McRae, Carlos Sainz and the newly crowned world champion, Tommi Makinen, will be missing from this year's rally.

In their absence, however, several other celebrated drivers have entered with strong teams, including the former champions Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist and Armin Schwarz, and the Formula One driver Martin Brundle, who is driving a Ford Escort Cosworth.