Rallying: Makinen triumphs as McRae falls back

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The Independent Online
FORTUNE SHONE on Tommi Makinen on the final day of Rally Australia yesterday, the Finn winning in controversial circumstances to take a two- point lead in the world championship. Sadly for Colin McRae, a blown turbo ended his hopes of taking the title and he finished fourth.

The victory for the defending world champion's Mitsubishi, by 16.5sec from Carlos Sainz in a Toyota, hoisted Makinen above the Spaniard, who said it was "a scandal" that the stewards had decided to clear the Finn of a one-minute penalty.

"I am not pleased with the way it has ended," said Sainz, who is seeking his third world title. "There is still a big battle to go in Britain and we will be strong there. But, as far as the situation with Tommi's penalty is concerned, I feel that it is a scandal. It was quite clear to the 20,000 people at Langley Park last night - and anyone watching on television - that he jumped the start, but nothing is done."

The drivers' championship will now be decided at the 14th and final race, the British RAC Rally in two weeks' time.

McRae, who had taken three spectacular stage wins to claw back more than a minute's deficit and gain the overall lead, suffered a blown turbo in his Subaru in the long fourth stage of the final day. That cost the Scot more than 20 seconds and ended his hopes of winning the rally and lifting his second world title before he leaves Subaru for Ford next year.

His only consolation was learning that his younger brother, Alister, won the Formula Two category in a Volkswagen.

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