Panizzi, assisted by his co-driver and brother Herve, clocked 3hr 52min 07.3sec over the three days of racing
Panizzi wins as Peugeot dominate San Remo Rally

SAN REMO, Italy, Oct 22 (AFP) - France's Gilles Panizzi of Peugeot scored his second consecutive win of the season Sunday at the San Remo Rally, round 12 of the 14-race world rally championship.

As during the Tour of Corsica earlier this month Panizzi came in ahead of compatriot and team-mate Francois Delecour who was second at 16.8sec.

Finnish world champion Tommi Makinen, winner of the last two Sam Remo rallies, was third in a Mitsubishi 53 seconds off the pace.

"I'm not 100 percent satisfied. We had a bad first day, but the two others were better. The next rally (Australia) will be more favourable to me," said Makinen.

Panizzi, assisted by his co-driver and brother Herve, clocked 3hr 52min 07.3sec over the three days of racing winning five special stages in total with four on Friday's opening day.

"It's a beautiful victory," said Panizzi of his second ever world rally win. "I began to control after the 13th special stage. Now I want to prove that I'm not just a dirt track specialist."

"These two wins (Corsica and San Remo) are very good for Herve and me. When the 15th special was cancelled I could see victory. Before I had to really battle with all the drivers - Francois Delecour, Richard Burns and Tommi Makinen attacked.

"But I got off to a good start, had good times the first day and afterwards controlled the race."

The 35-year-old Panizzi, runner-up here last year, was leading from Friday's second special stage and extended his lead Saturday.

Delecour had to settle for second after suffering engine problems on the opening day which resulted in a 12sec deficit which he never managed to close.

"After the problems the first day and falling behind I knew I wouldn't see Gilles (Panizzi) again because he's very fast, unless I took a lot of risks.

"I fought but Gilles was faster than me. I think the rally was already decided," said Delecour.

"Peugeot has now a good chance of winning the constructors title. I'm going to also going to try and help Marcus (Gronholm) win the title," added Delecour.

Peugeot dominated the rally with Finland's Gronholm maintaining the world championship lead on 49 points with two races left after finishing fourth at 1min 02.3sec.

Britain's Richard Burns of Subaru, who won the opening special stage, looked ready to battle with the two French drivers before being forced to withdraw Saturday with a radiator problem.

He remains in overall second position five points behind Gronholm.

Britiain's Colin McRae, given the all clear last week after having a plate inserted into the cheekbone he fractured in Corsica last month, was sixth, behind Ford teammate Carlos Sainz of Spain.

The 32-year-old Scot is now joint third with Sainz six points off the championship lead.

Makinen is fifth overall on 32 points, with Panizzi in sixth position on 21 before the final two races of the season in Australia and Great Britain.

Peugeot lead the constructors' standings on 90 points two points ahead of Ford (88) with Japanese team Suburu in third on 70.