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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2007, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Gronholm secures Finland victory
Marcus Gronholm
Gronholm now has four race wins this season
Marcus Gronholm won the Rally of Finland for the fourth year in a row as he held off fellow Finn and Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen on Sunday.

Gronholm took a 20.4-second lead into the final day and extended it to 24.2 seconds over the final three stages.

Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb came home third, 45.7 seconds adrift.

Gronholm is now 13 points ahead of Loeb in the world championship drivers' standings after nine rounds of the 16-race series.

Two-time world champion Gronholm, fastest in six of Saturday's nine stages, has now won seven of the last eight of his home rally in Jyvaskyla.

It's nice to get the 10 points here before we head to Germany

Marcus Gronholm

He wrapped up the victory in style with three stage wins out of three on the final day, beating Hirvonen into second place on the final Ruuhumaki run, the day's shortest course, by 1.7 minutes.

The victory added to the 39-year-old's victories in Sweden, Sardinia and Greece this season and was the 29th in his championship career.

Gronholm was delighted with his record-breaking win, but his focus remained on lifting the championship title.

"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 where it will be very difficult. The title is my aim."

Frenchman Loeb is looking forward to racing on the German tarmac in the next leg of the championship.

"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."

606: DEBATE
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Subaru's Australian driver Chris Atkinson finished in fourth spot one minute 52.9 seconds behind Loeb, while Norway's Henning Solberg was fifth a further 1:26.6 adrift.

Seven races remain in the championship including the next rally in Germany that starts on 17 August.


Rally of Finland, result

1. Marcus Gronholm (Fin) Ford Focus 2hr 57min 26.1sec
2. Mikko Hirvonen (Fin) Ford Focus at 24.2
3. Sebastien Loeb (Fra) Citroen C4 1:09.9
4. Chris Atkinson (Aus) Subaru Impreza 3:02.8
5. Henning Solberg (Nor) Ford Focus 4:29.4
6. Xevi Pons (Spa) Subaru Impreza 7:00.5
7. Urmo Aava (Est) Mitsubishi Lancer 7:39.6
8. Mads Ostberg (Nor) Subaru Impreza 9:31.9
9. Guy Wilks (GB) Ford Focus 9:39.4
10. Matthew Wilson (GB) Ford Focus 11:13.4



SEE ALSO
Loeb clinches Donegal Rally win
17 Jun 07 |  Motorsport
Gronholm clinches Greece victory
03 Jun 07 |  Rallying
Gronholm benefits from Loeb spin
20 May 07 |  Rallying
Loeb wraps up Argentina victory
06 May 07 |  Rallying
Loeb into lead as Gronholm slips
01 Apr 07 |  Rallying
Victory puts Loeb back on track
11 Mar 07 |  Rallying
Hirvonen claims Norwegian victory
18 Feb 07 |  Rallying
Gronholm takes victory in Sweden
11 Feb 07 |  Rallying
Loeb eases to Monte Carlo victory
21 Jan 07 |  Rallying


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