BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen took the victory on Rally Poland today and in doing so he takes over the lead in the race for the 2009 World Rally drivers' title.

Hirvonen began the final leg 12 seconds up on his team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, but in the end he won by over a minute, after his compatriot crashed out in the final test, the short 2.5 kilometre Mikolajki super special.

Hirvonen will now go to his home event in Finland at the end of next month, following the summer break, with a one point advantage over Sebastien Loeb in the drivers' standings.

Latvala's late gaff though hurts Ford, which had been on course for another 1-2 and a third maximum 18-point haul in succession.

It also won't do Jari-Matti's confidence much good as the runners-up spot appeared to be in the bag.

Citroen's Dani Sordo thus took a surprise runners-up spot. Sordo applied the pressure on the first loop on Saturday and kept Mikko and Jari-Matti honest. However he was unable to do the same on the repeat run on day 2 and was also no match for the Ford's on Sunday.

Henning Solberg and his brother, Petter were third and fourth respectively, both having gained not only from Latvala's exit, but also from the retirement of Sebastien Ogier. Ogier had been in front until he had engine problems in SS16.

Britain's Matthew Wilson rounded out the top five, followed by local hero and Stobart Ford 'guest driver', Krzysztof Holowczyc and then Sebastien Loeb.

Loeb had to re-start under the SupeRally on Saturday after crashing out in SS4. He then hauled himself back up to take two drivers' points and three manufacturers' points for Citroen. Admittedly though he had a helping hand on the last day, with Citroen Junior Team men, Conrad Rautenbach and Evgeny Novikov both slowing to allow the Frenchman passed. Rautenbach and Novikov came in eighth and ninth respectively.

Full report and result to follow...


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