Peugeot’s Richard Burns blitzed the first two stages of the Rally of Germany on Friday and holds a 2,5-second lead over Citroën’s Colin McRae as the field heads into special stage three.

Peugeot’s Richard Burns blitzed the first two stages of the Rally of Germany on Friday and holds a 2,5-second lead over Citroën’s Colin McRae as the field heads into SS3.


McRae’s team-mate Sébastien Loeb and the Ford Focus WRC 03 pair of Markko Martin and Francois Duval were closely matched in third fourth and fifth places on the 12,81-km Dhrontal stage. Overall, Martin holds third from Loeb and Duval as Peugeot, Citroën and Ford continue to dominate the early proceedings.


Marcus Gronholm sped up after an indifferent performance in SS1 and his sixth quickest stage time saw him move up into sixth place overall. Citroën’s Carlos Sainz was next, followed by impressive youngster Cedric Robert's Peugeot, which is backed by the FFSA (The French motorsport federation).


Subaru’s Tommi Makinen was ninth best despite a stall. That was almost 10 seconds better than his team-mate Petter Solberg who overshot a turn on the narrow SS2 stage. However, pre-rally favourite Gilles Panizzi has yet to show any of his expected form. He was 10th best on the stage and ninth overall and 18,1 seconds behind Burns.


Earlier, Burns had pipped Martin to win the 17,21-km Stein und Wein Fell SS1 stage by just under a second with McRae another second back in third place. The Peugeot 206 driver was apparently unhappy with his pace. The Englishman said he'd chosen too hard a tyre compound and consequently his car lacked grip… not that it showed!