Gronholm takes victory in Finland

Marcus Gronholm has won Rally Finland for the seventh time in his career ahead of his Ford teammate Mikko Hirvonen

Gronholm takes victory in Finland

The Finnish pair dominated the entire event, and Gronholm is the first driver in the modern era of the WRC to win an event seven times.

World champion Sebastien Loeb could only manage third place, and the Frenchman is now 13 points adrift of Gronholm in the championship.

"When I was a young driver in the 1990s I could never have thought that I would ever win here, but seven times looks very good," said Gronholm.

"I'm very happy, and it's nice to get the 10 points here before we head to Germany."

Hirvonen was happy to have been so close to Gronholm throughout the event, and by the end of the third leg he was just 24 seconds adrift of his teammate.

"It's been a fantastic rally for me," said the younger Finn. "I'm really happy to be so close to Marcus."

Loeb admitted that the Fords had been too fast for him to compete for victory, and the French driver will be looking forward to the next event in Germany, which will be on Tarmac.

"In Finland we have to accept that the Finns are fast," he said. "We couldn't do anything, we had to accept that they were faster.

"But I have to do better in Germany. I have to win a lot of rallies now if I want to win the championship."

Chris Atkinson ran in a solid fourth place during the majority of the event, and the Australian was happy with the pace that his Subaru had shown.

"Obviously we weren't pushing towards the end, but it was nice to do the times we did in the first half of the rally," he said. "Let's hope it continues for the rest of the year."

Henning Solberg reached his target of finishing in the top five, while Xevi Pons responded to a challenge from Urmo Aava to take sixth place in his first rally with Subaru.

Aava eventually finished 39 seconds behind the Spaniard, while behind him Mads Ostberg took the final point in eighth place.

Results:

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Gronholm Ford 2h57:26.1 2. Hirvonen Ford +24.2 3. Loeb Citroen +1:09.9 4. Atkinson Subaru +3:02.8 5. Solberg Ford +4:29.4 6. Pons Subaru +7:00.5 7. Aava Mitsubishi +7:39.6 8. Ostberg Subaru +9:31.9 9. Wilks Ford +9:39.4 10. Wilson Ford +11:13.4 
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Gronholm with safe lead in Finland

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