Rallying: McRae off pace in Monte Carlo

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The Independent Online
Britain's Colin McRae was three seconds off the pace as the Belgian Freddy Loix surprisingly took the lead after yesterday's first timed stage of the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.

Loix, making his debut in the event in a Toyota Celica, covered two laps of part of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit in 2min 5sec on a rainy day. Drivers raced in pairs in the 2.8km timed stage, starting at each end of a course using the lower part of the track along the Monaco harbour.