Rallying: Makinen title charge starts to accelerate

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The Independent Online
FINLAND'S Tommi Makinen won the Rally of Argentina on Saturday by 27 seconds from Carlos Sainz, of Spain, as the British pair Richard Burns and Colin McRae finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Makinen, the world champion, almost a minute ahead at the start of the day, clocked 4hr 22min 7.4sec in his Mitsubishi to take third place in the overall standings.

The consolation for Toyota's Sainz is that he is now top of the standings. McRae's two points for Subaru leaves him second, two behind the Spaniard and two ahead of Makinen.

Makinen's Mitsubishi team-mate Burns is in fourth spot a further three points adrift while Finland's Juha Kankkunen finished third in his Ford Escort and is now fifth overall after seven events.

Burns trailed Makinen by 55 seconds but was delighted with his finish after battling to hold off McRae and finishing 21 seconds ahead of the former world champion. "I'm happy to have held off Colin. I was trying very hard and as it turned out it wasn't too close," said the 27-year- old Oxford driver.

Mitsubishi head the manufacturers' standings by seven points from Subaru and Toyota and their team director, Andrew Cowan, said: "This is a good win for Tommi. He was confident before the start and the events to come are the ones he enjoys. Richard also handled himself very well."

McRae said: "It's been a great fight as we pushed Richard harder and harder. Obviously there was a chance that we could have forced him into a mistake but he's driven well and we just ran out of time.

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