McRae scores second consecutive victory.

Bruno Thiry admitted that he'd been too conservative in today's first stage, and his caution allowed Alister McRae to sneak past and bag the final manufacturers' point. But Thiry was handed back that point when Marcus Grönholm retired before lunch. Armin Schwarz, meanwhile, was unable to make any impression on the cars in front from his overnight 10th place, although Grönholm's retirement moved him up to ninth.

Armin Schwarz said: ''It's been a hard event but when I've had a clean run, I've really enjoyed it. These sorts of stages should suit the car and me. I'm glad that Skoda has got both of its Octavias to the finish, because it shows the strength of the car and we've got two more rough rallies ahead in Greece and Kenya.''

Bruno Thiry added: ''I was too worried about the tyres on this morning's first stage and I gave away a lot of time to Alister. But this is the sort of rally where you can't really attack back, so I had to maintain my pace. We've proven that the Octavia is a strong car and this will help us in Greece later this month too.''

Over at Peugeot Marcus Grönholm was forced to retire from the event after this morning's fourth stage, when his 206 WRC suddenly lost fuel pressure on a road section. Peugeot engineers suspect the problem could be related to a pipe in the fuel tank itself, since a similar glitch occurred on a pre-event test. Cyprus was the third event this season where Peugeot has failed to get any of its works cars to the finish.

Marcus Grönholm started today's final eight stages running third on the road and signalled his intentions by setting fastest time on the opening test. He ceded seconds to Carlos Sainz thereafter, though, as Grönholm paced himself carefully to keep his tyres in a relatively useable condition. He still held third overall after the fourth stage of the day but on the way back to service, his 206 WRC's engine cut out and refused to restart. The Finn was eventually forced to retire with low fuel pressure.

Marcus Grönholm said: ''We were on the road section, only about a kilometre and a half after the stage and I was cruising along, doing maybe 70kph, when suddenly the engine stopped. We talked to the team on the radio and tried everything to get going again but it wasn't possible. I'm really disappointed.''

Peugeot Sport Team Director Corrado Provera added: ''The problems that stopped Marcus and Didier (Auriol) here are details linked to the 2001 evolution of the 206 WRC, not fundamental problems. We have learnt a great deal here that will be useful in the rough events to come - the Acropolis and the Safari. It seems Ford has a very strong option on the manufacturers' title.''

Of the other teams Pasi Hagstrom bagged maximum points in the FIA Teams Cup for privateers and finished sixth overall in the process, while his nearest rival in the category, Abdullah Bakhashab, gained a top ten finish thanks to the retirement of Marcus Grönholm. Third place in the class was claimed by British woman Natalie Barratt.

In the Group N category for more standard cars, Gustavo Trelles closed the gap on Group N World Championship leader Gabriel Pozzo by winning the class. Pozzo finished third, behind reigning category champion Manfred Stohl.

Rally statistics:

Starters: 35 cars (21 Group A + 14 Group N) restarted the rally

Retirements: Grönholm (FIN), Taguchi (J) + 3 non-seeded drivers

Today - Sunday 3 June:

Leg 3 started from Limassol at 08h00 and covered 356.13km, including 97.46km on 8 special stages.

Stage by stage summary - leg three:

SS15 Vavatsinia-M. Kambiou (19.02kms):
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 17m 17.0
2. Sainz (E) Ford 17m 18.1
3. McRae (GB) Ford 17m 20.1

Leaders after SS15:
1. Burns (GB) Subaru 4h 00m 38.4
2. McRae (GB) Ford 4h 00m 40.4
3. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 4h 00m 52.9

SS16 Macheras-A Vavatsinias (13.11kms):
1. McRae (GB) Ford 11m 41.2
2. Sainz (E) Ford 11m 45.2
3. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 11m 45.3

Leaders after SS16:
1. McRae (GB) Ford 4h 12m 21.6
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 4h 12m 27.4
3. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 4h 12m 38.2

SS17 Lageia-Kalavasos (9.53kms):
1. McRae (GB) Ford 8m 37.3
2. Sainz (E) Ford 8m 37.5
3. Loix (B) Mitsubishi 8m 43.1

Leaders after SS17:
1. McRae (GB) Ford 4h 20m 58.9
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 4h 21m 13.8
3. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 4h 21m 21.7

SS18 Mari-Monagrouli (7.07kms):
1. Burns (GB) Subaru 4m 36.1
2. Sainz (E) Ford 4m 38.2
3. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 4m 38.7

Leaders after SS18:
1. McRae (GB) Ford 4h 25m 39.3
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 4h 25m 49.9
3. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 4h 26m 00.4

SS19 Vavatsinia-M. Kambiou 2 (19.02kms)
1. McRae (GB) Ford 16m 59.8
2. Sainz (E) Ford 17m 05.7
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 17m 07.2

Leaders after SS19:
1. McRae (GB) Ford 4h 42m 39.1
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 4h 42m 57.1
3. Sainz (E) Ford 4h 43m 06.6

SS20 Machereas-A Vavatsinias 2 (13.11kms):
1. Sainz (E) Ford 11m 36.0
2. McRae (GB) Ford 11m 36.8
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 11m 37.6

Leaders after SS20:
1. McRae (GB) Ford 4h 54m 15.9
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 4h 54m 34.7
3. Sainz (E) Ford 4h 54m 42.6

SS21 Lageia-Kalavasos 2 (9.53kms):
1. McRae (GB) Ford 8m 37.5
2. Sainz (E) Ford 8m 37.7
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 8m 38.9

Leaders after SS21:
1. McRae (GB) Ford 5h 02m 53.4
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 5h 03m 13.6
3. Sainz (E) Ford 5h 03m 20.3

SS22 Mari-Monagrouli 2 (7.07kms):
1. Burns (GB) Subaru 4m 35.5
2. Sainz (E) Ford 4m 38.9
3. McRae (GB) Ford 4m 39.3

Leaders in Limassol after SS22:
1. C. McRae (GB) Ford 5h 07m 32.7
2. Burns (GB) Subaru +16.4
3. Sainz (E) Ford +26.5
4. Arai (J) Subaru +5m 38.3
5. Loix (B) Mitsubishi +6m 10.2
6. Hagstrom (FIN) Toyota +9m 32.5
7. A. McRae (GB) Hyundai +10m 35.6
8. Thiry (B) Skoda +11m 38.0
9. Schwarz (D) Skoda +12m 48.1
10. Bakhashab (SA) Toyota +22m 12.1

Group N leaders after SS22:
1. Trelles (ROU)Mitsubishi 5h 34m 44.0
2. Stohl (A) Mitsubishi +3m 54.7
3. Pozzo (RA) Mitsubishi +8m 47.7
4. Ginley (GB) Mitsubishi +18m 01.1
5. Mandrides (UAE) Mitsubishi +20m 59.6
6. Timotheou (CY) Subaru +21m 43.0

Final Rally Statistics:

Event: The rally covered 1252.53km, including 341.40km on 22 special stages (including nine run twice). All stages were on gravel roads closed to other traffic.

Starters: 80 cars (49 Group A + 31 Group N) started the rally

Finishers: 30 cars (17 Group A + 13 Group N) finished the rally

Stage winners:
Sainz (SS7-8-10-11-13-14-20)
McRae (SS12-16-17-19-21)
Grönholm (SS2-3-15)
Burns (SS18-22)
Solberg (SS1-4)
Delecour (SS5-6)
Auriol (SS9)

Rally Leaders:
SS1 Solberg
SS2-SS6 Grönholm
SS7-SS11 Burns
SS12-SS13 McRae
SS14-15 Burns
SS16-SS22 McRae

FIA World Championships (provisional standings after 6 of 14 rounds):

FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers:

Related Pictures

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