Positions after Stage 8: 1 C Sainz (Spain) Subaru Impreza 2:33:30 2 F Delecour (Fra) Ford Escort +09 3 T Makinen (Fin) Mitsubishi Lancer +1:24 4 J Kankkunen (Fin) Toyota Celica +2:22 5 D Auriol (Fra) Toyota Celica +2:41 6 P Liatti (Italy) Subaru Impreza +2:59 7 C McRae (GB) Subaru Impreza +3:33 8 B Thiry (Belg) Ford Escort +4:54 9 A Aghini (Italy) Mitsubishi Lancer +6:04 10 P Bugalski (Fra) Renault Clio +7:14 Positions after Stage 9
1 F Delecour (Fra) Ford Escort 2:50:40 2 C Sainz (Spain) Subaru Impreza +02 3 T Makinen (Fin) Mitsubishi Lancer +1:29 4 J Kankkunen (Fin) Toyota Celica +2:24 5 P Liatti (Ita) Subaru Impreza +3:09 6 D Auriol (Fra) Toyota Celica +3:14 7 C McRae (GB) Subaru Impreza +3:26 8 B Thiry (Bel) Ford Escort +5:08 9 A Aghini(Ita) Mitsubishi Lancer +6:09 10 P Bugalski (Fra) Renault Clio +7:57
So far, the Rally appears to be firming up as a fight between Sainz and Delecour with Delecour taking the lead after the 9th stage by the slimmest of margins. The stages so far today were noted for being extremely slippery.
Colin McRae moved up 2 places today after failing to negotiate a curve and putting his Subaru in the snow yesterday. Auriol, on the other hand, is apparently having difficulties with his Toyota Celica and dropped 2 places today.
The new regulations this year have caused great controversy with outside assistance to the drivers being severely curtailed. Tyre changes now have to be performed by the drivers. Bruno Thiry apparently had bleeding hands after having to remove 150 studs himself.
Jean Ragnotti of France, the 1981 winner, said: "Teams have offered a nice trip to their mechanics. They watch the race and they are hardly able to touch the car." The drivers have to run two stages with the same tyres and this is causing concerns regarding safety. For example, one dry stage yesterday had to be started with snow tyres.