Rallying: McRae delighted with recovery

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THE SCOTTISH driver Colin McRae was delighted yesterday with his third position in the San Remo Rally after a disastrous opening day.

McRae suffered a puncture and fell to 16th place after losing 40 seconds, but fought back to keep his championship hopes alive. "I have never fought so hard for a third position," McRae said. "Those points are vital, though, and the most important thing is that we have kept the chase alive.

"Obviously, we wish we had done better but, in the circumstances, I don't think we could have achieved more. It took me a couple of stages to get into the groove this morning but after that I got with the job in hand.

"At one point in the first day, I thought we'd blown it - but we fought all the way and we have come away with points."

McRae now has two rallies left in which to launch a final assault on the title - but he admits that the title holder, Finland's Tommi Makinen, has just as good an opportunity to overhaul the current leader, Carlos Sainz. He said: "Australia and my home rally [the RAC] are good events for me - ones I enjoy and have done well in in the past - but Tommi also does well in them." Makinen is two points behind Sainz who has 50 points, while McRae has 42.

The two rallies left on the 13-event calendar are in Australia, from 5 to 8 November, and the RAC from 21 to24 November.

Results, Digest, page 29