Rallying: McRae wins thanks to Liatti's `lateness'

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Colin McRae completed an extraordinary comeback yesterday when he won the Rally of Italy in San Remo and kept alive his challenge for the world championship thanks to Subaru team orders.

McRae, world champion in 1995, finished ahead even though his Subaru team-mate, Italy's Pierro Liatti, came home first. Liatti was given a 10-second penalty for arriving late at the final service check-in after being told to do so by his team.

Liatti's overall time, with the penalty added, was 4hr 8min 31sec, leaving him six seconds behind the triumphant Scot. McRae finished the final stage with an overall time of 4:08.25.

The world championship leader, Tommi Makinen of Finland, came in third for Mitsubishi to retain his comfortable lead in the title race. He now has 56 points, nine more than Spain's Carlos Sainz, who was fourth for Ford.

McRae is third with 42 points with two rounds of this year's 14-round series remaining. "It is going to be very tough to win the title because I am going to need a lot more than just luck from now on,'' McRae said. "If it wasn't for Pierro, I would not be where I am now."