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banner Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Gronholm triumphs in Finland
Marcus Gronholm held on for victory in Jyvaskyla
Marcus Gronholm held on for victory in Jyvaskyla
Marcus Gronholm finally got back to winning ways with victory in front of his home crowd at the Rally of Finland.

The world champion had gone nine months without a victory and had scored only four points this season before arriving in Jyvaskyla.

"It has been a long time since I last won a rally and it is a relief to be back on the winners' rostrum," said the Peugeot driver.


This finish gives me a lot of confidence and I think the title will go down to the wire
Colin McRae
"We suffered badly at the start of the season and I hope that this victory will be the start of a major turnaround.

"There are five rallies left and I will be trying to win them all."

Gronholm took the lead from Richard Burns in the Subaru on Friday and held on to finish 25 seconds ahead of the Briton.

On a good day for British drivers, Colin McRae and Welsh co-driver Nicky Grist, continued their progression through the field to claim the final podium place.

Finalnd's Harri Rovanpera was the man to suffer as he ran into trouble on the final 25.2km run, slipping from second to fourth.

"I'm absolutely delighted to have finished second as I was worried that I might even lose third with Colin pushing hard on the final stage," said Burns.

Richard Burns
Richard Burns fought back to take second
"I tried very hard to get close to Harri as I didn't want to finish in third but the vibration of the wheel on the next stage cost me valuable time."

McRae finished 32.3 seconds behind Gronholm and cut the gap to world championship leader Tommi Makinen - who retired on the opening day - to six points.

"We were very happy with fourth on the final day so gaining an extra place is a bonus," McRae said.

"When Tommi went out on Friday it was just a question of getting as many points as possible to keep the pressure on at the head of the championship.

"This finish gives me a lot of confidence and I think the title will go down to the wire."

The World Rally Championship moves to Auckland next for the Rally of New Zealand from 20-23 September.

FIA World Rally Championship, round 9, Rally of Finland, final positions:

1. Marcus Gronholm (Finland), Peugeot, 3hrs 23mins 12.8secs
2. Richard Burns (Britain), Subaru, at 25.0secs
3. Colin McRae (Britain), Ford, at 32.3secs
4. Harri Rovanpera (Finland), Peugeot, at 33.9secs
5. Markko Martin (Estonia), Subaru, at 1min 17.9secs
6. Carlos Sainz (Spain), Ford, at 1min 40.5secs
7. Petter Solberg (Norway), Subaru, at 2mins 39.6secs
8. Sebastian Lindholm (Finland), Peugeot, at 2mins 44.6secs
9. Pasi Hagstrom (Finland), Toyota, at 5mins 01.2secs
10. Freddy Loix (Belgium), Mitsubishi, at 5mins 05.4secs

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Greg Strange
"Five events remain this year"
Richard Burns
"This was the best result we could have hoped for."
Britain's Colin McRae
"There was no way we could have won out here"
World Rally Championship


 
 
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