The World Rally Championship Mailing List is brought to you by:
Digital Rally - 'get virtually sideways'
Please also support the World Rally Discussion List:

Network Q Rally of Great Britain
Round 14 of the FIA World Rally Championship
22-25 November 2001

Extract from Official FIA Press Release

Network Q, Rally of Great Britain: Burns wins championship
Sunday, 25th November 2001
Subaru driver Richard Burns is the new FIA World Rally Champion, after the Englishman finished third overall on the Network Q Rally of Great Britain this afternoon. Burns and navigator Robert Reid were happy to let the outgoing champion Marcus Grönholm and his co-driver Timo Rautiainen claim the rally victory, ahead of fellow Peugeot driver Harri Rovanperä. Peugeot's one-two success capped the French marque's victory in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.
Heavy rain made today's final four stages in the south Wales forests treacherously slippery and with some of them being used for the second time, many drivers hit standing water in some of the deeper ruts. Overnight leader Grönholm and Burns merely consolidated their pace, for while Rovanperä inched past the Subaru driver into second overall, Burns knew that fourth or better would be enough to secure his first world crown.

Technical: Marcus Grönholm's 206 WRC has been reliable today. Harri Rovanperä's car hit alternator trouble on the day's first stage, however. It cut out briefly but re-started immediately. Didier Auriol complained of harsh suspension during the opening pair of stages.
Sporting: The withdrawal of Ford yesterday evening handed the manufacturers' crown to Peugeot, so their drivers were able to relax today. Marcus Grönholm maintained his steady but fast pace to secure his first victory on the Rally GB and claim his third win of the season. Harri Rovanperä needed only one stage to move past Richard Burns into second and despite a small off on the following test, the Finn held on to the runners-up spot to secure a one-two triumph for the French manufacturer. Didier Auriol felt his 206 WRC was fitted with suspension that was too stiff during this morning's opening pair of stages. He eventually finished seventh on his final outing for Peugeot.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: "I'm very pleased. It's been a fairly easy win for us, because Colin (McRae) and Tommi (Mäkinen) retired pretty early on and Richard was obviously thinking about the championship. Today he's been going through the same emotions that I went through last year. It's fantastic that we've turned the season around for Peugeot and won the manufacturers' title again, but of course I'm a bit sad to give up my own championship crown. I'll be aiming to win it back next year - testing starts after just one week, and I'm keen to get started!
Harri Rovanperä said: "Today was a good day. We knew this morning that there was no more pressure in the manufacturers' championship so we were able to push, and I got past Richard quite quickly. Conditions were difficult, of course, but the Rally GB can be like that. I'm really pleased that we got a one-two for the team, and that Peugeot won the manufacturers' title.
Didier Auriol said: "I'd have liked to have finished in the points because I think we were quick enough to do that, but our problems yesterday cost us too much time. The car was quite hard to drive this morning because the suspension was quite harsh and we bounced out of the ruts a few times.
Peugeot Total Team Principal Corrado Provera said: "The feeling I have is one of pure joy for everyone who has contributed to the programme. Our target at the start of the year was to win the manufacturers' title and we've done it, in the best way possible with a one-two finish. I'm delighted.

Technical: The Impreza WRC2001 of Richard Burns has been reliable today. The car of Toshihiro Arai hit gearbox problems in the day's second stage, though. The offending unit was changed at the following service by Prodrive mechanics.
Sporting: Richard Burns suffered no late scares as he picked his way through the deteriorating conditions today. The Briton eased off completely, allowing Harri Rovanperä into second since third was enough for him to clinch the 2001 FIA World Rally Championship title. Toshihiro Arai was troubled by gearbox problems but the Japanese driver still finished inside the top ten.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: "You can imagine how I feel. It's very special as a British driver to have stopped the Finns from winning the world championship again! It's been a difficult season and when things went wrong on the Safari I genuinely thought that the title hopes had gone. In fact, I didn't think about the championship again until after Australia. But myself, Tommi and Colin came here with the same basic chance of winning the championship and what happened to me here last year happened to them instead. To be fair, this is the first time that we've come to the Rally GB with a really good chance of winning the title and we've done it.
Robert Reid said: "The final stage was a long 26 kilometres! To be honest, I struggled to call the last distance on the pacenotes because I was choked. Richard's driven really well this weekend - we've done what we had to do. It's fantastic.
Subaru World Rally Team Principal David Lapworth said: "We never doubted that we had the ability to win the championship. Of course it's been a hard season and we've made better starts to the year, but we always believed that the package would be good enough. I think this result will help Richard's status compared to Colin, Marcus and Tommi.
Toshihiro Arai said: "I'm glad to get to the finish of this event, because the conditions have been very difficult in places. Today was so wet - there was deep water in the ruts and it would have been very easy to lose control.

Technical: The Accent WRC2s of Alister McRae and Kenneth Eriksson both hit the same problem on today's opening stage - their windscreen wipers stopped working. Eriksson and navigator Staffan Parmander managed to rectify the problem before the next test by disconnecting the navigator-side blade, but McRae and co-driver David Senior had to resort to more desperate measures. They rigged up a manual system using the spare intercom cable. Both systems were fixed by Hyundai team mechanics at the following service.
Sporting: Alister McRae and Kenneth Eriksson both kept pushing hard today on their final rally with the team, although they struggled with broken windscreen wipers in the heavy rain of this morning's opening two stages. McRae did enough this afternoon to hold off Armin Schwarz and claim fourth, however, while Eriksson netted sixth. It's the first time that Hyundai has had both cars in the top six
Quotes: Alister McRae said: "I'm really happy to leave the team on such a high note. We'd targeted a top six finish and fourth's really good for us. We've been improving all season and this is a bonus for all the boys who've worked so hard all year.
Kenneth Eriksson: "I'd have liked to have caught Armin but in the end, it just wasn't possible this morning. It's good that we've taken Hyundai up to a good level from when we started and I'm sure the team will be stronger
again in future.

Technical: Armin Schwarz reported no major problems with his Octavia WRC today. Bruno Thiry's only concern was a leaking windscreen that allowed the Welsh rain into the car.
Sporting: Alister McRae's problems this morning allowed Armin Schwarz a sniff of fourth overall, and the German driver pushed harder still on his final day's action with Skoda. He posted third fastest time on the penultimate stage but ultimately, he had to settle for fourth. His result was enough to net Skoda fifth in the manufacturers' championship ahead of Hyundai, though. Bruno Thiry consolidated his overnight top ten placing and eventually finished eighth on his final appearance in a Skoda.
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: "It's been quite a good rally. We've had good reliability, which is crucial in such difficult conditions. I'm pleased to end my time at Skoda with a top-six finish. The team has come a long way since I joined it and I've been pleased to be a part of that.
Bruno Thiry said: "Conditions today were very tricky - there was a lot of water in some places and the rain and mist made visibility quite difficult. I'm just glad to have reached the finish without any major problems.

Sporting: Ford withdrew both Carlos Sainz and Mark Higgins yesterday afternoon after the serious accident involving the Spaniard, in which some spectators were injured.
Quotes: Colin McRae said: "I offer my congratulations to Richard. He's had a great drive. He's won the title and he deserved to win it. But we'll come back next year stronger and better, and determined to take the title back.

FIA Super 1600 Cup champion Sebastien Loeb maintained his record of winning every round of the series that he's started this year by taking a comfortable category victory this afternoon. The Frenchman started today's mileage far enough clear of his main rivals to be able to ease off in the closing stages.
Behind Loeb and navigator Daniel Elena, things were much closer. A quick time from Andrea Dallavilla on today's opening stage moved him ahead of Niall McShea, who spun in the same test. The Ulsterman grabbed back a second in the next stage but Dallavilla pulled further ahead in SS16 and the Italian entered the last test more than 20s clear of his rival. But almost within sight of the finish in Margam Park, the engine in his Fiat Punto expired and he was forced to retire, allowing McShea to form a Citroen one-two at the head of the S1600 timesheets.
There was also a close finish in the Group N category for more standard machinery. British driver David Higgins inched ahead of Peru's Ramon Ferreyros this afternoon, and the pair entered Margam Park separated by less than a second. But Higgins eked out a further couple of seconds in the stage to secure a popular home victory. The Subaru driver's success also brought to an end Mitsubishi's 28 event strong run of victories in the Group N category.

1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 3:23:44,8
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 3:26:11,9
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 3:27:00,2
4 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 3:30:33,6
5 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 3:31:16,1
6 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 3:31:55,8
7 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 3:32:05,9
8 Thiry Skoda Octavia WRC 3:34:40,4
9 De Mevius Peugeot 206 WRC 3:38:02,5
10 Arai Subaru Impreza WRC 3:38:51,2

1 D.Higgins Subaru Impreza WRC 3:44:56,7
2 Ferreyros Mitsubishi Lancer 3:44:59,5
3 Ginley Mitsubishi Lancer 3:50:32,7

SUPER 1600
1 Loeb Citroen Saxo 3:50:37,3
2 McShea Citroen Saxo 3:52:41,0
3 Cols Peugeot 206 3:59:25,1

(provisional standings after 14 of 14 rounds):
FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers:
Burns (GB) 44
McRae (GB) 42
Mäkinen (FIN) 41
Grönholm (FIN) 36
Rovanperä (FIN) 36
Sainz (E) 33
Auriol (F) 23
Panizzi (F) 22
Delecour (F) 15
Solberg (N) 11

FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers:
Peugeot 106
Ford 86
Mitsubishi 69
Subaru 66
Skoda 17
Hyundai 17

FIA World Cup for Drivers of Production Cars:
Pozzo (RA) 71
Trelles (ROU) 36
Stohl (A) 23
Ligato (RA) 22
Blomqvist (S) 17

FIA Teams Cup (after 6 of 6 rounds, this event not counting):
Lundgaard (DK) 36
Hagstrom (FIN) 24
Al Wahaibi (OM) 16
Bakhashab (SA) 15
Blomqvist (S) 13

FIA Super 1600 Cup (after 6 of 6 rounds):
Loeb (F) 50
Dallavilla (I) 30
McShea (GB) 12
Cols (B) 11
Basso (I) 10

SS14 - Rovanpera, SS15 - Gronholm, SS16 - Gronholm, SS17 - Gronholm

SS17 Dallavilla Fiat Punto Mechanical
SS17 Backlund Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Mechanical
SS11 Sainz Ford Focus WRC Accident/Team Withdrawal
SS11 M.Higgins Ford Focus WRC Team Withdrawal
SS11 Loix Mitsubishi Lancer WRC Transmission
SS10 Wearden Subaru Impreza WRC Accident
SS4 C.McRae Ford Focus WRC Rolled
SS4 Stohl Fiat Punto Accident
SS2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC Fuel Pressure
SS2 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer WRC Lost wheel
SS2 Liatti Hyundai Accent WRC Clutch

SS 14, Rheola I 27.03km
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 15:36,8
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 15:45,4
3 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 16:08,4
4 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 16:10,8
5 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 16:12,7

SS 15, Rhondda II 26.54km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 14:31,6
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 14:42,3
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 14:51,8
4 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 14:56,2
5 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 14:56,3

SS 16, Rheola II 27.03km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 15:23,6
2 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 15:36,7
3 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 15:42,9
4 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 15:45,4
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 15:45,9

SS 17, Margam II 28.15km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 16:30,0
2 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 16:44,4
3 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 16:48,1
4 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 16:55,3
5 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 16:56,8

[WRC] Network Q, Rally of Great Britain: End of Leg 2
Saturday, 24 November 2001
Outgoing FIA World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm continues to lead the final round of the 2001 series, the Network Q Rally of Great Britain, which continued today in Wales. The Finn and navigator Timo Rautiainen set fastest times on today's two forest stages to arrive at this evening's superspecial in Cardiff more than a minute and a half clear of world title hopeful Richard Burns.
Today's action was curtailed mid-way through the running of SS11, however, because of a serious accident involving Carlos Sainz. The Spanish driver's Ford Focus slid off the road about 13km into the stage, injuring 12 spectators. All medical facilities on the stage and two air ambulances were deployed to deal with casualties, and with the prospect of a delay and fading light the organisers decided to cancel both SS11 and SS12. Ford elected to withdraw Sainz and Higgins from the event, due to the serious nature of the incident. A following statement from the hospital has confirmed that none of these injuries are considered to be life-threatening. Actually nine casualties had minor injuries and were discharged later this evening.

Technical: The 206 WRCs of Marcus Grönholm, Didier Auriol and Harri Rovanperä have been reliable today. Peugeot's engineering team has determined that Auriol's transmission problem yesterday evening was a differential glitch, not a broken driveshaft as originally thought.
Sporting: Marcus Grönholm has consolidated his overnight lead during today's stages. The outgoing world champion was comfortably quickest on both of this morning's tests to extend his advantage to well over a minute. Team-mate Harri Rovanperä lost time when he hit a rock and bent his car's steering on the day's second stage, but the Swedish Rally winner still held a comfortable third overall as the cars returned to Cardiff this evening. Didier Auriol hit real trouble, however - the Frenchman spun into a ditch less than two kilometres into the opening stage of the day and he had to wait until enough spectators arrived to return the 206 to the road. He dropped to the bottom of the top ten as a result. Ford's decision to withdraw Carlos Sainz after his accident means that Peugeot is now confirmed as the winner of the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: "We haven't had any real problems today. I'm confident about tomorrow - there are four forest stages left and anything can still happen, but if we don't have any dramas or make any mistakes then I don't think Richard is going to try anything.
Peugeot Total Team Director Corrado Provera said: "Our first concern is that we have had no proper information concerning the seriousness of the injuries. We have heard that Ford has withdrawn Carlos, which must have been a difficult decision to take. As a consequence of that we are mathematically the manufacturers' world champions. In order to confirm this more completely we know that we have four more forest stages to go. All we can do is try to end the season and the rally itself in the best way possible
Didier Auriol said: "It was a silly spin on the first stage. The corner was nothing special, but I just braked a bit too late and we overshot the junction. The car was in a bad place in the ditch and we needed quite a few people to get back onto the road. It's quite frustrating because although I haven't liked today's conditions too much - there's been quite a lot of fog - I'm sure we could have kept a points position.

Technical: Richard Burns suffered a scare this morning when his Impreza WRC2001 refused to fire up in parc ferme. He had to push the car out of the control and then change two spark plugs before the car would start. He arrived at first service without any penalties, however, and the car ran reliably thereafter. The Impreza of Toshihiro Arai has enjoyed a troublefree day.
Sporting: Second-placed Richard Burns has concentrated on not making mistakes, as his current second overall would be enough to clinch the world championship. The Briton adopted a cautious approach in the foggy conditions, allowing leader Marcus Grönholm to pull further clear yet still setting fast enough times to extend his own cushion over third-placed Harri Rovanperä. Burns's only real scare today occurred in parc ferme this morning, when he had to push the car out of the control and change two of its spark plugs before it would restart. Toshihiro Arai, meanwhile, is continuing to build experience of the notoriously fickle Welsh conditions - the Japanese driver lies outside the top ten.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: "At times like this it's difficult to think of the championship. The main feeling is to hope that everyone injured in Carlos's accident will recover as quickly as possible. How I'm driving and things like that don't matter at the moment.

Technical: Kenneth Eriksson's Accent WRC2 has been reliable today, but Alister McRae's example lost all of its front differential hydraulic pressure as it left for the first stage this morning. The problem was cured at the following service, though.
Sporting: Alister McRae has continued to post top-six times and when Didier Auriol slid off on today's first stage, the Scot moved back up into the fifth position that he held for much of yesterday. He wasn't helped by a loss of front differential hydraulic pressure in the same test that caught out Auriol, though - McRae's Accent arrived at the following service with some rear-end damage after he went off at the last corner. Ford's decision to withdraw Carlos Sainz moved McRae up to fourth. Kenneth Eriksson continues to hold a top ten placing in his Accent, although the Swede looks unable to Armin Schwarz's Skoda.
Quotes: Alister McRae said: "We've been trying like hell on every stage today. There have been a few moments and it was a bit lively in today's first stage when the lack of front diff pressure made the car very hard to drive under braking.

Technical: Carlos Sainz's Focus WRC has been reliable today, although the Spaniard did suffer another mysterious puncture on the day's opening stage. Mark Higgins hit gearbox problems in the same test (losing fourth and fifth), but the problem was rectified at the following service.
Sporting: Carlos Sainz has moved further clear of Alister McRae today, and when Didier Auriol slid off in SS9 the double world champion moved into fourth overall. He held that placing entering SS11 but around 13km into the stage, he crashed heavily. Fifteen spectators were injured in the accident, and Ford elected to withdraw both its drivers because of the seriousness of the situation. Mark Higgins lost time on the day's first test with gearbox problems, but the former British champion recovered quickly to move back ahead of Kenneth Eriksson in SS10 and put sixth-placed Armin Schwarz under pressure too
Quotes: Mark Higgins said: "We're not going to catch any more of the guys in front unless they have problems but then, I had one myself first thing this morning so it shows it can happen. I'm still only getting about 50 percent of the corners right, too, so I know there's more speed there. I'm learning more on every stage and really enjoying myself.

Technical: Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry have reported no major problems with their Octavia WRCs today. The third driver, Roman Kresta, crashed out of the event last night.
Sporting: Armin Schwarz has enjoyed the misty, slippery conditions on today's stages and the German has more than matched some of his closest rivals. He extended his advantage over Kenneth Eriksson throughout the day and when Didier Auriol slid off, Schwarz moved into the points. Bruno Thiry experimented with tyre choice this morning, opting for softer Michelins than usual in the day's second stage. The retirements of Neil Wearden and Freddy Loix allowed the Belgian to inch into the top ten.
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: "It's been going quite well. We changed the differential last night and that solved the problems we'd had yesterday afternoon, and the car's been going really well today. Every bit of knowledge of these stages helps when the fog comes down, because otherwise you end up lifting on long corners or long crests.
Bruno Thiry said: "I've been much happier with the car today. We've been using a different type of differential today and it's much more progressive and easier to drive. We'll just keep trying and if others continue to hit problems then we could make up a few places yet.

Technical: Freddy Loix was forced to retire the sole remaining Lancer Evolution WRC today. The Belgian lost third and fifth gears in Resolfen, and although the Ralliart mechanics effected repairs at the next service, he then lost all but first, second and sixth in the following stage. The team replaced the gear selector at service but Loix again lost gears on the road section to SS11 and had to withdraw.
Sporting: Gearbox problems meant that Freddy Loix didn't enjoy a successful end to his time at Mitsubishi. He lost gears in both of today's opening two stages and although the Ralliart engineers tried on more than one occasion to fix the problem, Loix had to retire on the road section to SS11
Quotes: Freddy Loix said: "It's been a frustrating event for us. We made a lot of changes to the car last night and I was quite hopeful that we could put in some good times this morning, but then the gearbox started to lose gears. The team have tried hard to fix the problems but the damage to the transmission was pretty bad and we had to stop. I'm really disappointed to end my time at Mitsubishi like this because they've been a great team of people to work with.

Newly-crowned FIA Super 1600 Cup champion Sebastien Loeb continues to lead the category on the Rally GB. Second-placed Andrea Dallavilla endured a difficult morning, however - half of his Fiat Punto's sump guard came off in the day's first test and in the second, he hit rear suspension problems and spun. Those dramas allowed British driver Niall McShea into the second S1600 position, although the Saxo driver is too far behind his Citroen stablemate to seriously threaten him tomorrow. There have also been retirements among the privateer World Rally Car ranks. Neil Wearden, who held a top ten position for much of , yesterday's stages, was forced onto the retirements list in SS10 , when he clipped a gate post and damaged his steering rack beyond , repair.,
In the Group N category for more standard machinery, Peru's Ramon Ferreyros continues to lead the class in his Mitsubishi Lancer.

1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 2:21:34,2
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 2:23:09,6
3 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 2:23:18,8
4 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 2:25:48,9
5 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 2:27:30,9
6 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 2:27:44,3
7 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 2:28:32,1
8 Thiry Skoda Octavia WRC 2:29:14,4
9 De Mevius Peugeot 206 WRC 2:31:50,7
10 Arai Subaru Impreza WRC 2:32:48,1

1 Ferreyros Mitsubishi Lancer 2:37:16,9
2 Backlund Mitsubishi Lancer 2:37:44,1
3 D.Higgins Subaru Impreza WRC 2:37:47,2

SUPER 1600
1 Loeb Citroen Saxo 2:39:49,7
2 McShea Citroen Saxo 2:42:27,0
3 Dallavilla Fiat Punto 2:42:48,0

SS9 - Gronholm, SS10 - Gronholm, SS11 - Gronholm, SS12 - cancelled, SS13 - A.McRae

SS11 Sainz Ford Focus WRC Accident/Team Withdrawal
SS11 M.Higgins Ford Focus WRC Team Withdrawal
SS11 Loix Mitsubishi Lancer WRC Transmission
SS10 Wearden Subaru Impreza WRC Accident
SS4 C.McRae Ford Focus WRC Rolled
SS4 Stohl Fiat Punto Accident
SS2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC Fuel Pressure
SS2 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer WRC Lost wheel
SS2 Liatti Hyundai Accent WRC Clutch

SS 9, Resolfen 46.45km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 25:28,1
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 25:35,0
3 Sainz Ford Focus RS 25:46,7
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 25:48,8
5 Loix Mitsubishi Lancer WRC 25:56,9

SS 10, Margam I 27.93km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 16:26,2
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 16:38,5
3 Sainz Ford Focus RS 16:40,5
4 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 16:50,8
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 16:53,1

SS 11, Brechfa II 29.80km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 17:12,1
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 17:27,6
3 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 17:28,9
4 M.Higgins Ford Focus WRC 17:41,7
5 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 17:54,6
** All cars after 7th place were allocated the same time as 7th place

SS 12, Trawscoed II 26.26km

SS 13, Cardiff Super Special 2.45km
1 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 2:11,3
2 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 2:12,0
3 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 2:12,6
4 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 2:12,8
4 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 2:12,8

[WRC] Network Q, Rally of Great Britain: End of Leg 1
Friday, 23 November 2001
Outgoing FIA World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm holds the initial advantage on the closing round of this year's series, the Network Q Rally of Great Britain, which started in earnest today. The Finn and navigator Timo Rautiainen ended today's stages in the Welsh forests nearly half a minute clear of their nearest rival, Subaru's Briton Richard Burns.
But the day has been dominated by interest in this year's world championship title fight. Tommi Mäkinen lost hope of a fifth crown when he broke his Mitsubishi's suspension in today's opening stage, and Colin McRae crashed out of a potentially title-winning position on the day's third test. Outside bet Carlos Sainz lost time with a puncture, so Richard Burns now holds a commanding title advantage. The British Subaru driver still needs to finish fourth or higher to prevent McRae from winning the championship, however

Technical: The 206 WRCs of Marcus Grönholm and Didier Auriol have been reliable today. Harri Rovanperä was less than satisfied with his car's handling during this morning's stages, but a change of differential set-up left the Swedish Rally winner more comfortable with his car.
Sporting: Marcus Grönholm set fastest time on today's third stage to move into second overall on the event, and when Colin McRae crashed out on the next test, the outgoing world champion took over the lead. He then posted fastest times on SS5, SS6 and SS7 to build his advantage over Richard Burns to more than half a minute. Auriol has also been in impressive form, although the Frenchman entered today's final pair of tests expecting to lose time in foggy conditions he detests, as he did. Harri Rovanperä has also posted competitive times despite concerns about his car's handling, and the Finn ended the day a comfortable fourth.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: "It's obviously going well. We're thinking about the manufacturers' championship, pushing hard but not taking any real risks. We still have two long days to go and as this morning showed, this rally is really unpredictable. I've got a good feeling with the car, though - the same sort of feeling that I had in Australia.
Harri Rovanperä said: "The car was a bit twitchy this morning but once we swapped the differential set-up it felt better immediately. This morning was crazy - we expected some things to happen this weekend but I didn't think Colin and Tommi would retire so soon. We don't need to push at the same speed as Marcus, because we're thinking about makes' points.
Didier Auriol said: "The car is working very well but I hope there's no fog because I don't normally go well in those conditions.

Technical: The Impreza WRC2001 of Petter Solberg was forced to retire on this morning's first stage, when it lost fuel pressure. The cars of Richard Burns and Toshihiro Arai have been generally reliable, although Burns was troubled by a slight throttle pedal problem before the day's second service. Markko Martin suffered from brake bias problems throughout today's opening three stages and after the Estonian crashed in SS4, he suffered an underbonnet fire that damaged the engine wiring loom. The Prodrive mechanics changed the loom, a damaged steering rack and suspension at the following service, although Martin did pick up 40s of road penalties as a result and finally retired on SS5 with engine troubles
Sporting: Richard Burns quickly switched from all-out attack to consolidation when he saw Colin McRae had retired, and the Englishman has duly kept his Impreza in the top three throughout today's stages. His team-mates have not fared so well - Petter Solberg retired in the day's first test with fuel pressure problems, while Markko Martin struggled with brake bias glitches, then crashed. In SS5 he joined Solberg on the sidelines thanks to engine problems that could well have been related to his earlier dramas. Toshihiro Arai has struggled to cope with the Welsh forests' changeable grip levels, and the Japanese driver lies well outside the top ten as a result.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: "Our aim now is to finish in the top four but of course, it takes quite a bit of concentration to finish in the top four on a world championship rally. It's going pretty well and there's no doubt that the problems for Colin and Tommi have made things a bit easier for us but we still have to get to the finish. There's no point in trying to chase after Marcus, though. We'd have to take risks to do that.
Toshihiro Arai: "It's hard to know when you come to every corner when you're going to have grip and when you aren't.

Technical: The Hyundai's Accent WRC2s of Alister McRae and Kenneth Eriksson have performed reliably today. The third car of Piero Liatti retired on the day's first stage with clutch problems, however.
Sporting: Alister McRae has elected to throw caution to the wind on his final drive for Hyundai, and the Scot has charged into the points positions as a result. Even a half-spin on today's fourth stage couldn't prevent him from arriving at the day's first major service in fifth overall. Team-mate Kenneth Eriksson was slightly more cautious, but the Swede still held down a top ten placing throughout the day.
Quotes: Kenneth Eriksson said: "We haven't had any real problems but the conditions are quite difficult today. I can't do Alister's times when he's on home soil but we're still pretty competitive.
Alister McRae said: "We might as well have a real attack here - we've got nothing to lose. So far it's been going well - the car feels good and there have been so many incidents that we've ended up in a very good placing. But there's a long way to go

Technical: Carlos Sainz lost time on this morning's opening stage when he suffered a puncture. The Spaniard had to complete four kilometres of the test with the flat tyre and flailing rubber then severed a brake pipe and left him with no front brakes. The double world champion tried to fix the problem before the second test (and picked up 40s of road penalties as a result) but he couldn't, and by the end of the third test his rear brakes had failed as well. Colin McRae's Focus was badly damaged in a high-speed roll on SS4, while Mark Higgins suffered from handling problems towards the end of the same test. He also struggled with a misted windscreen in SS6
Sporting: Colin McRae started today as he finished yesterday evening's superspecial in Cardiff - in front. Fastest time on the opening test consolidated the Scot's overnight advantage but Richard Burns retaliated on the following stage. Then in SS4, McRae cut a fifth gear right-hand bend too tight and a gully on the inside of the corner flipped his Focus into a series of rolls. The Scot retired on the spot, and he was subsequently taken to hospital for precautionary scans after complaining of a loss of peripheral vision immediately after the accident. His navigator Nicky Grist escaped with bruising. Carlos Sainz lost time with a puncture and a loss of brakes on today's first three stages, leaving new boy Mark Higgins to fly the Ford flag. The former British champion wasn't totally satisfied with his speed in this morning's stages but he still arrived at the day's first major service in sixth overall. Sainz moved forward to occupy that placing by early afternoon, while a spin in SS5 dropped Higgins to seventh.
Quotes: Colin McRae: "We just cut a corner too much, the car hit a bump and rolled over.
Nicky Grist said: "We were pushing hard and we made a bit too much of a cut in a fast right-hand corner. There was a bit of a ditch and a bad bump, and it threw the car into the air and we rolled several times. The car's well damaged.
Ford World Rally Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said: "You can imagine how we all feel. The title has been within our grasp all season and we were in control of our own destiny here. It's going to be a long three days waiting to see what happens with Richard Burns. The manufacturers' championship is all but gone now, but we'll be back. Ford hasn't come this close to either the drivers' or the manufacturers' titles in some time, and we'll be stronger again in 2002

Technical: Tommi Mäkinen was forced to retire on this morning's opening stage when he cut a corner, broke a bolt in the left-front suspension and lost a wheel. Freddy Loix, meanwhile, lost turbo boost in the opening three tests, and the Belgian's differentials failed to work properly as a result too. Despite a change of turbo at second service, he felt that the car lacked power under 5000rpm and also complained of poor handling.
Sporting: Tommi Mäkinen lost all hope of a fifth world championship title on today's first stage. The Finn tried to cut a corner and broke a bolt in his Lancer WRC's left-front suspension, losing a wheel. He had to retire in the stage, marking a disappointing conclusion to his successful spell at Mitsubishi. Freddy Loix's turbo problems cost him time this morning, and a half-spin on the day's third stage didn't help the Belgian either. He had to fight to stay in the top ten as a result, despite continuing problems with his engine and transmission.
Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen said: "I don't really understand what happened. We had the corner marked in our notes and we didn't take more of a cut than anyone else, but then I heard a noise and the lower arm had broken. We then lost the wheel and there was no way we could continue. Rallying can be a hard sport - sometimes you have luck, sometimes you haven't. Today was definitely one of those days when we didn't have any luck. It's hard to accept that the chance of a fifth title is gone - it's been a long year and we had high hopes. And it's very sad for my time at Mitsubishi to end like this.
Freddy Loix said: "There's nobody home under 5000rpm, but it can't be the turbo because the team changed it. Handling is very difficult too - the car isn't happy in corners with bad camber and it's unstable under braking. I hope we can fix it.

Technical: Both Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry complained of nervous handling on their Octavia WRCs during this morning's opening three stages (Thiry's concerns lasted into the afternoon), but the cars have been reliable otherwise. Czech driver Roman Kresta reported no major problems with his Octavia either
Sporting: Armin Schwarz has a good record on the Rally GB and the German performed well in this morning's tricky conditions to bring his Octavia WRC to the fringes of the points placings. He entered this evening's final pair of stages in eighth, fighting with the Ford Focuses of Carlos Sainz and Mark Higgins. Bruno Thiry hasn't been so fortunate - the Belgian has been unhappy with his car's centre differential, which he believes is making the Octavia's handling unpredictable. He struggled to get into the top ten as a result. Roman Kresta has concentrated on gaining experience on his first Octavia WRC outing in the British forests.
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: "It's been going well. The tracking of the car wasn't right this morning, which is why it was nervous, but once we fixed that at the first main service it felt a lot better. It's been so slippery today and sometimes we've felt that the tyres have been too hard, when they haven't! All we can do is keep trying at this pace and see what happens.

Overnight leader in the FIA Super 1600 Cup Sebastien Loeb didn't have long to enjoy his advantage. Francois Duval moved into the category lead on this morning's first stage. The Belgian Ford driver crashed out in SS4, though, allowing the newly-crowned S1600 champion back into the top position. He was being kept under pressure by Andrea Dallavilla, though, as the Italian adapted to the Welsh forests on his first visit. The Group N category for more standard machinery is being led by Peruvian driver Ramon Ferreyros, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer once campaigned by multiple class champ Gustavo Trelles.

1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 1:20:15,0
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 1:20:51,5
3 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 1:21:07,4
4 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 1:22:25,0
5 Sainz Ford Focus RS 1:22:41,9
6 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 1:22:52,6
7 M.Higgins Ford Focus WRC 1:23:56,9
8 Schwarz Skoda Octavia WRC 1:24:06,9
9 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 1:24:07,4
10 Loix Mitsubishi Lancer WRC 1:24:32,5

1 Ferreyros Mitsubishi Lancer 1:30:04,2
2 Backlund Mitsubishi Lancer 1:30:15,5
3 D.Higgins Subaru Impreza WRC 1:30:52,1

SUPER 1600
1 Loeb Citroen Saxo 1:31:37,5
2 Dallavilla Fiat Punto 1:33:45,0
3 McShea Citroen Saxo 1:34:14,7

SS2 - McRae, SS3 - Gronholm, SS4 - Gronholm, SS5 - Gronholm, SS6 - Gronholm, SS7 - Gronholm, SS8 - Rovanpera

SS4 C.McRae Ford Focus WRC Rolled
SS4 Stohl Fiat Punto Accident
SS2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC Fuel Pressure
SS2 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer WRC Lost wheel
SS2 Liatti Hyundai Accent WRC Clutch

SS 2, St Gwynno 13.67km
1 McRae Ford Focus RS 6:34,7
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 6:36,5
3 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 6:37,8
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 6:39,5
5 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 6:43,4

SS 3, Tyle 10.45km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 5:41,9
2 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 5:44,2
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 5:44,5
4 McRae Ford Focus RS 5:44,6
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 5:49,7

SS 4, Rhonda I 26.54km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 14:09,3
2 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 14:17,0
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 14:21,6
4 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 14:21,6
5 Sainz Ford Focus RS 14:22,5

SS 5, Crychan 12.87km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 7:17,2
2 Sainz Ford Focus RS 7:24,8
3 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 7:28,3
4 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 7:28,5
5 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 7:29,6

SS 6, Halfway 17.37km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 10:00,1
2 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 10:02,3
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 10:04,8
4 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 10:04,8
5 Sainz Ford Focus RS 10:05,1

SS 7, Brechfa I 26.76km
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 17:23,0
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 17:23,9
3 Sainz Ford Focus RS 17:25,3
4 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 17:31,0
5 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 17:41,8

SS 8, Trawscoed I 26:22km
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 16:51,9
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 16:55,0
3 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 16:55,8
4 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 17:24,8
5 Higgins Ford Focus WRC 17:45,3

[WRC] Network Q, Rally of Great Britain: Welcome
Thursday, 22 November 2001
Four drivers will enter this week's closing round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Rally of Great Britain, with a chance of lifting the top prize in the sport. Colin McRae, Tommi Mäkinen and Richard Burns can all secure the drivers' title by winning the event (regardless of where the others finish), while fourth-placed Carlos Sainz still has an outside shot at the crown if he wins and the top three all fare badly. Britons Burns and McRae will start as favourites, since between them they have won every 'full' Rally GB (the 1996 event was not a round of the World championship) since 1994.
The notoriously slippery Welsh forests will also play host to a thrilling conclusion to the Manufacturers' championship, with Peugeot and Ford separated by just four points as they start the final round at this evening's superspecial in host town Cardiff. With rain and fog both forecast for the days ahead, driver concentration and mechanical reliability will be more crucial than ever as the championships go down to the wire.

PEUGEOT (1st- 90 points)
Technical: Peugeot enters three official cars this weekend, for Marcus Grönholm, Harri Rovanperä and Didier Auriol. The team conducted three separate tests for the event. Grönholm and Rovanperä have again opted for the five-speed gearbox, while Auriol has his preferred six-speed unit. All three cars feature three computer controlled 'active' differentials.
Sporting: Peugeot has nominated its two Finnish drivers, Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä, for manufacturers' points in Britain. Didier Auriol will thus start his final event for the team aiming for drivers' points only. Peugeot's fourth regular driver, Gilles Panizzi, will contest the event in a 206 WRC run by private team Grifone.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: "We're here to try and win the manufacturers' championship for Peugeot but that means pushing as hard as possible anyway, because I'm sure Colin (McRae) will be fast and he's driving for our main rival! I've been quite fast in Britain before and the car has felt very good in testing, so I'm quite hopeful that we can be on a similar pace to Richard (Burns) and Colin.
Harri Rovanperä said: "It's going to be a very big fight at the front, especially with Richard and Colin on their home event and going for the drivers championship. My aim is to put in a quick but steady drive that will get as many manufacturers' points for Peugeot as I can. I know the stages in Britain quite well but the conditions in Wales can be very difficult.

FORD (2nd - 86 points)
Technical: Ford has introduced no major technical changes on the Ford Focus RS WRC01s for this event. The team conducted its entire Rally GB testing in October. Mark Higgins's Focus features a non-active rear differential.
Sporting: Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae are nominated for manufacturers' points. Victory for McRae would guarantee him a second world drivers' title, but Sainz needs to win with his team-mate non-scoring to stand any chance of a third crown. The Spaniard's hopes slimmed, when he aggravated the back injury that hampered him earlier this year. Ford has entered former British champion Mark Higgins in its third car, instead of Francois Delecour. Higgins's chance is some consolation after his factory drive in this year's British championship was scrapped because Foot and Mouth disease caused most events to be cancelled.
Quotes: Colin McRae said: "I'm looking forward to the challenge. This is the toughest situation I've ever been in, but we've faced pressure before and normally we come out on top. It'll be hard on Richard too, because he hasn't won a world title yet and I have. It's going to be a great finish to the year.
Carlos Sainz said: "This event has been very good for me in the past, but also very cruel. I only have a small chance of winning the world championship but I'll still be pushing as hard as possible, both for myself and for Ford in the manufacturers' championship. We must make sure that we don't make any mistakes.
Mark Higgins said: "It'll be hard for me here, because although I've driven the Focus a lot in testing there's nothing like putting numbers on the side of the door and comparing times against the best in the world. I'm confident in my own abilities, but we'll have to wait and see how our times stand up on Friday morning. There's such a good entry that anywhere in the top ten would be a good position for us.

MITSUBISHI (3rd - 69 points)
Technical: Mitsubishi continues to evolve its still-new Lancer Evolution WRC. Two examples are entered for this event, driven by Tommi Mäkinen (who uses a brand new car) and Freddy Loix.
Sporting: Tommi Mäkinen and Freddy Loix are both nominated for manufacturers' points on their final event for the Mitsubishi team. Mäkinen is navigated by his third co-driver in as many rallies: Kaj Lindstrom replaces Timo Hantunen as stand-in for the injured Risto Mannisenmaki. A former British champion with Tapio Laukkanen, Lindstrom attended Mitsubishi's pre-event test and consulted Mannisenmaki, in an attempt to make the transition as easy as possible. Victory for Mäkinen here would net him a fifth world title, regardless of where Colin McRae or Richard Burns finished.
Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen said: "It's going to be a very tough event for everyone. The stages here are always very difficult and we're still working on the car to get the right set-up. I was much happier after the last day in Australia, though. I don't mind that all the attention is on Colin (McRae) and Richard (Burns). It's their home rally but in a way, that gives them more pressure.
Freddy Loix said: "This is a rally where your pacenotes can be more important than ever. It often gets foggy in the Welsh stages and you have to be able to commit to corners where you can't even see 50 metres ahead of you. It'll be tough.

SUBARU (4th- 62 points)
Technical: Subaru has introduced no major technical changes to its gravel-spec Imprezas. The team has entered four cars in Great Britain - for Richard Burns (a brand new car), Petter Solberg, Markko Martin and Toshihiro Arai.
Sporting: Richard Burns and Petter Solberg are nominated for manufacturers' points, leaving Markko Martin and Toshihiro Arai to fight for drivers' points only. Victory for Burns would guarantee him a first World drivers' title and would also be the first time that any driver has won the Rally GB four years in succession. His preparations haven't been without their hitches, though - Burns rolled his Impreza in a recent pre-event test. Meanwhile, Toshihiro Arai has a new navigator on this event - Tony Sircombe will co-drive for the Japanese driver instead of Glenn Macneall.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: "I'm glad that the pre-event talk and hype will finally stop and we can just get into the forests. I don't know why I've got such a good record here, but obviously I'm glad that I've come here with a chance of the title. No-one really enjoys driving in the fog but when the mists come down in Wales, I know that I stand a good chance.
Petter Solberg said: "I'm really looking forward to this one. We did a good test and found an excellent set-up for both the car and the tyres. It's easy to make a mistake in the Welsh forests because the grip level is always changing, though.

SKODA (5th - 15 points)
Technical: Skoda has entered three Octavia WRCs for the Rally GB, to be driven by Armin Schwarz, Bruno Thiry and Roman Kresta. The Czech manufacturer has switched shock absorber supplier for this event, to a positive response from the drivers. The Octavias are otherwise basically unchanged from their normal gravel specification, although Thiry is trying slightly different differential settings. Kresta's car had differential problems during yesterday's shakedown test.
Sporting: Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry are nominated for manufacturers' points, with Czech driver Roman Kresta aiming for drivers' points only. Skoda recently confirmed that Swedish veteran Kenneth Eriksson and young Finn Toni Gardemeister will form its line-up for the 2002 season.
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: "The new shocks are really good and very dependable. It's very important on this event to have a reliable car and one that you feel comfortable with, because the levels of grip and the road surfaces can vary from corner to corner. Skoda's done well in the Welsh forests before and after our shakedown test I'm quite hopeful that we can score a good result.
Bruno Thiry said: "The car felt good in shakedown, although the stage cut up quite badly and there were bad ruts after a few cars had been through. But with some of the stages being used more than once here, that could be a problem anyway.

HYUNDAI (6th - 13 points)
Technical: Hyundai is entering three Accent WRCs on this event, for Kenneth Eriksson, Alister McRae and Piero Liatti. The cars feature no major technical revisions since their last outing.
Sporting: Alister McRae and Kenneth Eriksson are nominated for manufacturers' points on their last outings for the Hyundai team. Italian Piero Liatti will drive a third car and aim for drivers' points only. Hyundai recently announced that Freddy Loix and Armin Schwarz will contest all 14 rounds of the 2002 championship for the team, with Finnish veteran Juha Kankkunen tackling nine of the events in a third Accent.
Quotes: Kenneth Eriksson said: "It's going to be a tricky rally for everyone. The slippery conditions might help us a bit because we've got quite good handling, but if it gets into thick mud then raw power will become important and we could lose out.
Alister McRae said: "My home round of the championship hasn't always been that kind to me, but I'm hoping for a good run this year. The car's been fine in testing and if we get a troublefree rally then we could end up scoring a point or two.

Citroen is absent from the Rally GB, but the team recently confirmed its line-up for its seven-rally programme in 2002. Thomas Rådström and Sebastien Loeb will tackle all seven rallies, with Philippe Bugalski conducting much of the development work and driving a third Xsara WRC on the three asphalt events in the programme.

The Rally GB is the sixth and final round of the inaugural FIA Super 1600 Cup, but the title has already been secured by French driver Sebastien Loeb. The event will thus be a battle for pride. Loeb is likely to face still competition from local drivers like Niall McShea and Martin Rowe, and the man who finished second to him in the title race, Andrea Dallavilla.
The event has attracted a 120-strong field, including several strong private World Rally Car entries. Former British champion Gwyndaf Evans will drive a SEAT Cordoba WRC E3 after being temporarily released from his MG contract. Young Finn Janne Tuohino brings a Toyota Corolla WRC, while Belgian veteran Gregoire de Mevius has entered a Peugeot 206 WRC.

Tyre suppliers Michelin and Pirelli provide a number of options for their teams. Michelin (Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Peugeot) offers the Z for clear, hard ground, the ZA for damp or slightly loose surfaces and the ZE for soft, damp or loose gravel roads. The French manufacturer also has the G51 available in case conditions turn snowy, although this can only be used with authorisation from the rally organisers. Pirelli (Ford and Subaru) brings two types of tyre - the K for hard and compact surfaces and the KM for smoother roads. Again, the Italian manufacturer has the S option available in case of snow.

1 McRae Ford Focus RS 02:10,1
2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 02:10,2
3 Sainz Ford Focus RS 02:10,8
4 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 02:11,2
5 Panizzi Peugeot 206 WRC 02:11,5
6 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 02:11,8
7 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 02:12,1
8 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 02:12,5
9 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 02:12,5
10 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 02:12,6

Leg 1, Thursday 22nd November
SS1 19:10 Super Special 2.41km

Leg 1 cont, Friday 23rd November
SS2 08:26 St Gwynno 13.67km
SS3 08:53 Tyle 10.45km
SS4 09:29 Rhonda I 26.54km
SS5 12:40 Crychan 12.87km
SS6 13:04 Halfway 17.37km
SS7 16:03 Brechfa I 26.76km
SS8 16:51 Trawscoed I 26:22km

Leg 2, Saturday 24th November
SS9 08:55 Resolfen 46.50km
SS10 11:23 Margam I 28.15km
SS11 13:53 Brechfa II 29.76km
SS12 14:41 Trawscoed II 26.22km
SS13 19:10 Super Special 2.41km

Leg 3, Sunday 25th November
SS14 07:58 Rheola I 27.03km
SS15 09:42 Rhondda II 26.54km
SS16 12:18 Rheola II 27.03km
SS17 13:36 Margam II 28.15km