Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala has hailed his debut WRC asphalt victory on Rallye de France as a "great" and "important" result.

Latvala led for all but one of the 18 stages in Alsace, winning nine tests in total and finishing in the top three in six others.

After missing out on his first tarmac win in Germany in August, when he crashed out on the final day, the 29-year-old was understandably delighted. He now becomes the first Finn to have won on asphalt in almost 15 years, with Tommi Makinen the last to do so, when he won the 1999 Sanremo Rally.

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"A great and important win for us. For years I have worked hard to win my first asphalt rally. Unfortunately I missed out on the chance in Germany, but I have now shown that I learned from my mistake and went away and improved," Latvala noted.

"With this win I would like to thank Volkswagen and the entire team for the magnificent support.

"Every rally driver dreams of winning on asphalt, gravel and snow, and I am overjoyed to have finally achieved this milestone."

The result also keeps alive his championship hopes, although with Sebastien Ogier 27 points ahead and with only two events left, he remains an outside bet.

"The World Championship is still wide open," Latvala insisted, "and all WRC fans can now look forward to an exciting rally in Spain."