2001 World Rally Champion Richard Burns has crashed out of the Propecia Rally New Zealand after rolling in SS15 - Paparoa Station.

Burns lost control 11 km's into the stage throwing away a commanding 44.3 second lead over his Peugeot team-mate Marcus Gronholm. Burns had led the event since the opening stage and had set the fastest time through the previous stage - SS14.

Meanwhile Gronholm now looks set to win the event and clinch the 2002 Drivers' crown. The Finn has a 31.7 second lead over his fellow countryman Harri Rovanpera, who is second.

Petter Solberg is 'best of the rest' after the Peugeot's in third, with his team-mate, Tommi Makinen fourth and Carlo Sainz fifth.

Sainz is the only remaining Ford after Markko Martin went off the road in SS14. The only other major retirement of the day thus far, is Mitsubishi's Jani Paasonen - he left the road in SS11.

The WRC field now heads into service prior to the final three stages that will conclude leg two. SS16 - Cassidy - is due to start at 5.17 pm [local time] / 6.17 am [BST].