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Burns and Colin McRae separated by a whisker.

For Hyundai team Kenneth Eriksson's hopes of recovering from his first-day problems ended this morning. The Swede lost turbo boost when a pipe broke in the first stage, then had to tackle the second without power steering. Before the third stage, his alternator failed and the battery failed seven kilometres into the test.

Alister McRae, meanwhile, has enjoyed decent reliability but his Accent has been wearing its tyres more than most of the remaining Michelin runners. His main mechanical problem was a broken fan, which raised his car's engine temperature to worrying levels.

Kenneth Eriksson was eventually forced to retire with mechanical problems this morning, but Alister McRae continues to inch higher up the order. The Scot's is still concerned about excessive tyre wear but he ended the day in ninth.

Alister McRae said: ''We need to work out why the tyres are taking so much of a hammering. The wear we're having is worse than almost everyone else, and it's making life very difficult towards the end.''

Kenneth Eriksson added: ''I'm disappointed but also encouraged. We've shown on the last few rallies that the car has potential and that we can do the times. All we need is to get all of the elements together and it'll work.''

At Skoda Armin Schwarz encountered a host of problems this morning. The German had to complete the opening four stages with no differential pressure, and he also hit clutch and brake problems in the same group of tests. The former European champion picked up 50 seconds of road penalties as he tried to correct the brake problems. He encountered further brake glitches during today's last two stages. Bruno Thiry, meanwhile, has continued to fine-tune his Octavia's suspension in an attempt to make it more predictable over the bumps. Despite its problems, Skoda is now the only manufacturer to have all of its works cars still running.

Armin Schwarz's technical problems this morning kept the German outside of the top ten, but subsequent retirements from Didier Auriol, Kenneth Eriksson and Fran├žois Delecour moved him into 10th place overnight. Bruno Thiry has enjoyed a steadier run, and the Belgian ended the day in eighth overall and the final manufacturers' points placing.

Armin Schwarz said: ''This is the kind of rally where you just try to have fewer problems than everyone else and we're having a lot. We're still going, though, and with the battle at the front I can see more retirements coming tomorrow. I quite like the stages because although they're slow, they're technical and you can attack.''

Bruno Thiry noted: ''I'm really trying to hold off Alister McRae now and get the final manufacturers' point for Skoda, but I know I have to keep this pace and see what happens. Reliability will be very important tomorrow.''

Of the other teams Pasi Hagstrom continues to lead the FIA Teams Cup for Privateers, and the Finn now holds a respectable seventh overall as well. In the Group N category for more standard cars, Gustavo Trelles holds the class lead in his Mitsubishi Lancer.

Rally statistics:

Starters: 50 cars (32 Group A + 18 Group N) restarted the rally

Retirements: Eriksson (S), Auriol (F), Delecour (F) + 11 other drivers

Today - Saturday 2 June:

Leg 2 started from Limassol at 08h00 and covered 375.72km, including 105.96km on 8 special stages.

Tomorrow - Sunday 3 June:



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