The Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart crew of Tommi Makinen and Risto Mannisenmaki returned to Itea this afternoon fourth overall at the end of the 48th Acropolis Rally. Team-mates Freddy Loix and Sven Smeets also picked up points for the team, finishing fifth of the registered crews and in ninth position overall.

In the FIA World Rally Championship, Tommi Makinen's three points ensure he maintains an equal lead in the series, a lead he has never relinquished since Monte Carlo. A third consecutive victory for Britain's Colin McRae moves the Scot into joint first with Makinen, and Carlos Sainz holds third. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Ford retains the lead with Mitsubishi second just seven points adrift.

Of the 110 original crews, only 64 took the re-start in Itea this morning for the concluding leg in the hills high above the host town. Again based around Parnassos, five of the seven stages were reruns and the scene of some of the closest-fought action witnessed this season. Despite the searing heat and choking dust kicked up by the cars, thousands of fanatical motorsport fans were treated to world-class action and battles raging throughout the top ten leaderboard. Mitsubishi, along with Skoda, were the only two manufacturers to bring their full compliment of factory cars to the finish after yet another gruelling and car-breaking Mediterranean event.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution crew of Makinen and Mannisenmaki fought hard today and moved up to fifth position when Subaru's Richard Burns went off the road this morning. They have however been in the thick of a fight to keep Francois Delecour at bay, the French Ford driver inching closer with Burns hot on his heels, before the Briton ultimately retired. The Finns reigned supreme however and, when Sainz was forced onto the sidelines in the final stage, Tommi moved into fourth position.

"Today has been alright but of course we were worried about the guys behind," said Tommi Makinen. "It's been a difficult rally for us and we've had quite a lot of tyre wear and oversteering today. It was a bit disappointing not to be so competitive, but we know more now and can hopefully do better next time. The strong tyre we really wanted to use ended up not being right for the event, which didn't help us. On the positive side, we are still at the top of the leaderboard and there are still many rallies to go."

Like so many crews, team-mates Freddy Loix and Sven Smeets have experienced their own share of problems and time lost yesterday, combined with having to stop and change a wheel earlier today, dropped them down the order. However, they never gave up, fought to the end and picked up two points for Mitsubishi.

"The rally has been a little bit frustrating," commented Freddy Loix. "We lost most of the time yesterday in service and then also today when the rim broke and we had to stop and change the wheel. I don't know what happened, but I just saw the mousse fly out. When we had a good run and the car was working well my times were ok, so I have to say speed-wise I am quite happy. We also picked up points for the team, which is good."

The FIA World Rally Championship now takes a break until the 20th July when the teams head to Kenya for the African classic.