McRae leads his fellow Briton Richard Burns, in a Mitsubishi Carisma, by more than six minutes and would be further in front were it not for a wall of stones left by hooligans.
The Scot was at full speed when he had to swerve to avoid a pile of rocks deliberately placed in the road, and in doing so crashed through a wall. McRae's Subaru was damaged by the smash, its steering rack and left front wishbone taking the main impact, but after a delay of around three minutes he returned to action. "There was a one-foot high wall of stones and we hit it flat out," McRae said. "The car jumped into the air and I thought we had taken the whole front end off. Luckily, we just damaged one corner very badly."
McRae, who started the day in third place, took advantage of Armin Schwarz's damage to the rear suspension of his Ford Escort, which snapped when he was more than eight minutes in front. Schwarz complained: "The suspension is so soft the back end is sliding all over the place and our tyres are being destroyed on this rocky terrain."
The world champion, Tommi Makinen, and the series leader, Carlos Sainz, have both retired.
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