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Colin McRae maintains commanding lead.

Alister McRae said: ''The car's just as good as it was yesterday. Our times make sense, and I know if we hadn't had the fire then we'd be looking towards fighting for a point or two. It's a bit hard to keep your motivation in situations like this, but we have to keep trying.''

Kenneth Eriksson added: ''I've actually been a bit disappointed on some stages, because the car feels strong and then the time isn't quite as good as I expect. The roads have been very fast today, though - it's certainly been exciting for us.''

At Skoda Armin Schwarz was less than satisfied with his Octavia's handling on the faster sections of this morning's opening three stages, but neither he or Bruno Thiry suffered any substantial mechanical problems. Both cars were subsequently damaged, though, when a local fire track crashed in the Santa Rose de Calamuchita service area, and they took no further part in proceedings.

Both Skodas retired in the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita service area after a local fire tender, responding to a fire near the finish of SS11, lost control and crashed. It clipped Skoda's Engineering Director with Responsibility for Motorsport, Dr Jens Pohlmann (54), before toppling onto Thiry's Octavia and sliding into the front of Schwarz's car. Pohlmann suffered head and internal injuries and was taken by ambulance to a nearby helipad, then transferred to helicopter and flown to Cordoba's main hospital. An official team statement later described his condition as 'stable', and he was able to speak to doctors this afternoon. His injuries include broken ribs and a broken pelvis, and some skull trauma. Neither of the Skoda crews was injured in the incident, even though Bruno Thiry was sitting inside his Octavia when it was hit by the fire truck.

Bruno Thiry said: ''I was just sitting inside the car and then I saw the truck coming towards me very quickly. I suppose I'm lucky to be unhurt but obviously everyone in the whole team is shocked and sad. We just hope that Mr Pohlmann will be okay soon.''

Of the others Gabriel Pozzo continues to lead the Group N category for more standard machinery in his Mitsubishi Lancer. His nearest rival, multiple category champion Gustavo Trelles, is more than three minutes adrift. Pozzo has enjoyed a relatively troublefree day - his only worry was slightly soft suspension on this morning's first loop of stages.


Rally Statistics:

Starters: 47 cars (15 Group A + 32 Group N) restarted the rally.

Main retirements today: Schwarz (D), Thiry (B) + 6 other drivers.

Today - Saturday 5 May:
Leg 2 started from Villa Carlos Paz at 07h05 and covered 471.65km including 120.43 on 7 special stages.

Tomorrow - Sunday 6 May:
The third and final Leg starts from Villa Carlos Paz at 06h50 and covers 425.49km including 118.56km on 6 special stages. The first car is expected at the final control in Cordoba, Olympic Stadium at 16h24.

Weather forecast: Bright and sunny, with only a chance of patchy cloud.

Summary of today's action:

SS9 SANTA ROSA 1 (26.10km):
1. Burns (GB) Subaru 15m 22.6
2. C.McRae (GB) Ford 15m 22.8
3. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 15m 24.8

LEADERS AFTER SS9:
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 2h 03m 40.8
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 2h 04m 22.0
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2h 04m 40.8

SS10 SAN AGUSTIN (12.65km):
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 9m 19.2
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 9m 20.4
3. Sainz (E) Ford 9m 22.6

LEADERS AFTER SS10:
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 2h 13m 00.0
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 2h 13m 42.4
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2h 14m 03.4

SS11 AMBOY 1 (17.48km):
1. Burns (GB) Subaru 9m 13.6
2. C.McRae (GB) Ford 9m 16.3
3. Makinen (FIN) Mitsubishi 9m 20.3

LEADERS AFTER SS11:
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 2h 22m 16.3
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 2h 22m 56.0
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2h 23m 28.1

SS12 SANTA ROSA 2 (26.10km):
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 15m 10.4
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 15m 10.5
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 15m 14.2

LEADERS AFTER SS12:
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 2h 37m 26.7
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 2h 38m 10.2
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2h 38m 45.3

SS13 LAS BAJADAS (16.42km):
1. Burns (GB) Subaru 8m 48.3
2. C.McRae (GB) Ford 8m 48.9
3. Sainz (E) Ford 8m 52.8

LEADERS AFTER SS13:
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 2h 46m 15.6
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 2h 46m 58.5
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2h 47m 38.1

SS14 AMBOY 2 (17.48km):
1. Burns (GB) Subaru 9m 09.2
2. C.McRae (GB) Ford 9m 14.6
3. Makinen (FIN) Mitsubishi 9m 16.8

LEADERS AFTER SS14:
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 2h 55m 30.2
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 2h 56m 07.7
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2h 56m 55.7

SS15 SAN MARTIN (4.20km):
1. Makinen (FIN) Mitsubishi 3m 04.1
2. P.Solberg (N) Subaru 3m 04.3
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 3m 05.7

LEADERS AFTER SS15:
1. C.McRae (GB) Ford 2h 58m 36.3
2. Burns (GB) Subaru +37.1
3. Sainz (E) Ford +1m 26,2
4. P.Solberg (N) Subaru +2m 41.9
5. Makinen (FIN) Mitsubishi +2m 58.3
6. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot +3m 54.8
7. Delecour (F) Ford +4m 14.4
8. Loix (B) Mitsubishi +4m 27.6
9. Auriol (F) Peugeot +6m 07.1
10. Arai (J) Subaru +7m 31.0



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