:Rallying McRae climbs to top

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The Independent Online
COLIN McRAE, of Britain, took the lead in the opening day of the Acropolis Rally yesterday, winning five of the 10 special stages in the mountains of central Greece.

McRae, in a Subaru Impeza 555, finished in 1hr 31.58min - 43sec ahead of his team-mate, Carlos Sainz, of Spain.

Didier Auriol, the championship leader from France, driving a Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD, was third, followed by his team-mate, Juha Kankkunen, of Finland. Ari Vatanen, another Finn, was fifth in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth, followed by Sweden's Kenneth Eriksson in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Last year's Acropolis winner, Miki Biasion, of Italy, was seventh in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth.

The three-day competition covers 869 miles of central Greece before finishing in Athens tomorrow night. Of the total distance 302 miles are over 33 special stages on gravel roads, mostly in rugged mountains.

The 41st Acropolis Rally is the fifth of 14 events in this year's World Rally Championship and usually takes a heavy toll - 18 of the 84 starters pulling out yesterday.