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McRae wins second leg of the Safari Rally

March 2, 1997

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Colin McRae of Britain fought a stiff competition from compatriot Richard Burns on Sunday to win the second leg of the 44th Safari Rally.

McRae, driving a Subaru Impreza WRT finished the loop northwest of Nairobi, with 8 hours, 11 minutes, 1 second in penalty points.

Burns, in a Mitsubishi Carina had 8 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds in penalty points.

Third was Kenya’s Ian Duncan driving a Toyota Celica with 8 hours, 19 minutes and 56 seconds in penalty points.

Armin Schartz of Germany, who won the first leg Saturday in a Ford Escort WRC, was fourth at 9 hours, 30 minutes and 27 seconds. Fifth was Jonathan Toroitich of Kenya in a Toyota Celica and 9 hours, 54 minutes and 42 seconds.

This year’s 1,488-mile route is divided into three legs, each split into sectors.

Drivers are required to cover each sector within specified time and loose 10 seconds for every minute they are late. The winner is the driver with the least penalties in time lost.

Each leg starts and ends in Nairobi.

Of the 64 cars which started the race Saturday, 33 cars succumbed to rough terrain and mechanical failures at the end the first leg. Information on the number of cars that dropped out in the second leg was not immediately available.

Among casualties in the first leg were former World Champion Carlos Sainz of Spain. Sainz was the first one off the ramp in from Nairobi, a position he had won because of the World Championship points earned earlier this year in Monte Carlo and Swedish rallies.

Another victim was last year’s Safari Rally winner, Tommi Makinen of Finland, who was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer and dropped out in the second leg.

Because the Safari Rally had become too expensive for ordinary enthusiasts, organizers added a classics category.

Of the 27 cars that started the race in the classic category, nine dropped out in the first leg. This group does not earn points toward the World Championship.

The rally, previously run over the Easter holidays, the wettest period of the year in Kenya, was moved to March because of new regulations by the International Automobile Federation.

The Safari is third in the 14 World Championship circuit and counts for both the manufacturers and drivers prizes.

The rally ends Monday with a loop through rugged tracks south of Nairobi.

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