Mikko Hirvonen has won Rally Italia Sardegna to notch up his first WRC victory with Citroen.

Hirvonen trailed team-mate, Sebastien Loeb, by 1.1 seconds following the two opening tests on Thursday, but moved ahead in the first stage on Friday, when the Frenchman went out.

After that he was never headed, and with Ford pair Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg also succumbing on the second day, the Finn was left with a commanding lead. He eventually came through to triumph by over a minute.

Evgeny Novikov meanwhile took the runners-up spot for the M-Sport Ford WRT, with Ott Tanak third in the sister car. It was Tanak's first podium at this level.

Behind, Mads Ostberg recovered from his a rear differential failure on Friday afternoon to take fourth, with Sebastien Ogier beating Chris Atkinson to fifth.

Andreas Mikkeslen, Martin Prokop and SupeRally 2 runner Solberg took positions 6 through to 9, the latter winning the Power Stage. Luca Pedersoli rounded out the top ten and took the final WRC drivers' point.

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Rally Italia Sardegna: Overall standings after Stage 16 (Top 10):

1. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 3hours 23mins 54.9secs M
2. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 20.6secs M
3. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 21.1secs M
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 42.9secs
5. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +04mins 27.5secs
6. Chris Atkinson WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +05mins 22.2secs
7. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +06mins 12.5secs
8. Martin Prokop Czech Ford National Team Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 29.3secs
9. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 52.3secs M
10. Luca Pedersoli Citroen DS3 WRC +20mins 35.6secs

Others

11. Giuseppe Dettori Skoda Fabia S2000 +23mins 19.7secs
12. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +24mins 16.7secs M
13. Yuriy Protasov Subaru Impreza +24mins 51.6secs
14. Nicolas Fuchs Subaru Impreza STi +25mins 30.8secs P

Rally Italia Sardegna: Power Stage / SS16 (Top 3):

1. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC 6mins 13.4secs M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 00.2secs M
3. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +00mins 04.7secs M

NOTE: Top three finishers in Power Stage are awarded bonus points. 1st = 3 points; 2nd = 2 points; 3rd = 1 point

PWRC standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):

1. Nicolas Fuchs Subaru Impreza STi 3hours 49mins 25.7secs P
2. Marcos Ligato Subaru Impreza STi +00mins 30.4secs P
3. Valeriy Gorban Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +00mins 42.1secs P

Notable retirements:

SS2. Lorenzo Bertelli Subaru Impreza Mechanical P

SS3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Went off M
SS3/SS4. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC Rolled M*
SS4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Went off M*
SS7. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Went off M*
SS8. Paolo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Stopped on road section after final test - engine*

* denotes re-started under Rally 2

all times unofficial