By winning the inaugural Rally of Turkey at the weekend, Spanish veteran Carlos Sainz has equalled Colin McRae’s record of 25 wins in the World Rally Championship.

By winning the inaugural Rally of Turkey at the weekend, Spanish veteran Carlos Sainz has equalled Colin McRae’s record of 25 wins in the World Rally Championship.

”The Matador” was in top form and drove at a consistent pace to hand Citroën their first-ever victory on gravel. The Spaniard’s Xsara WRC ran without fault for the final day's five stages and his win promotes him to third in the race for the driver's title.

The two-time world champion outlasted many of his main rivals on the difficult conditions of the Anatolian mountains to record his first win for the French manufacturers.

The Spaniard beat Peugeot’s Richard Burns by 47,9 seconds and, in doing so, helped put Citroën at the top of the manufacturer's championship in its first full season of competition.

"I am very happy," said Sainz. "I work very hard all the time so it feels good when you win."

Richard Burns said: "I pushed hard on the second stage of Sunday's loop of stages, that was the plan. I wanted to try and pull out more of a lead on François Duval. We did that and set fastest time. After that it was okay, we drove for the finish without any problems. It's great to be leading the championship again, but at the same time we have to remember that this means we will be running first on the road in New Zealand - that might not be ideal if it stays dry."

Subaru's Petter Solberg and Peugeot's Harri Rovanpera both crashed out of the lead, handing Sainz a one minute lead mid way through Day Two, a lead that the veteran wasn't about to give up.

Citroën’s Colin McRae finished fourth, picking up another five points to leave him just a point adrift of his British rival, a position that he will be satisfied with bearing in mind that the rally circus heads South to New Zealand next month, an event that handicaps the first driver. Peugeot's Gilles Panizzi made full use of his maiden outing on gravel rally with a factory 206 WRC, coming home sixth, with Ford's Markko Martin taking an 'if only' sixth.

Skoda's Toni Gardemeister finished eighth in the tank-lika Octavia, given the Czech team another two points, with Subaru's Tommi Makinen limping home in eighth. Defending champion was ninth after dropping ten minutes on the opening day with power steering failure, with Hyundai's Freddy Loix tenth.

Final standings:

1. SAINZ, Carlos Citröen Xsara WRC 4:32,14.1

2. BURNS, Richard Peugeot 206 WRC 4:33,02.0

3. DUVAL, François Ford Focus WRC 4:34,00.6

4. McRAE, Colin Citröen Xsara WRC 4:34,23.2

5. PANIZZI, Gilles Peugeot 206 WRC 4:34,55.7

6. MARTIN, Markko Ford Focus WRC 4:35,39.0

7. GARDEMEISTER, Toni Skoda Octavia WRC 4:37,27.1

8. MAKINEN, Tommi Subaru Impreza WRC 4:39,32.7

9. GRONHOLM, Marcus Peugeot 206 WRC 4:43,06.3

10. LOIX, Freddy Hyundai Accent WRC 4:43,54.5

11. PYKALISTO, Juuso Peugeot 206 WRC 4:46,02.0

World championship standings

Drivers

1. Richard Burns 18

2. Colin McRae 17

3. Carlos Sainz 16

4. Markko Martin 13

5. Sebastien Loeb 12

6. Marcus Gronholm 10

7. Tommi Makinen 9

8. François Duval 8

9. Gilles Panizzi 4

10. Petter Solberg 3

11. Cedric Robert 3

12. Toni Gardemeister 3


Manufacturers

1. CITROËN 39

2. PEUGEOT 31

3. FORD 25

4. SUBARU 13

5. SKODA 06

6. HYUNDAI 03

Original article from Car