Sordo meanwhile eventually took the final place on the rostrum. He blamed a poor tyre choice for his failure to match the 'big' two on Friday afternoon and then he suffered from grip problems on Saturday.
Although he found his feet a bit more in SS10, 11 and 12 by then it was all a bit late.
He did try to keep the pressure on Gronholm though on the final day, winning three of the four stages and cutting the gap from 30 seconds to around 20 at the finish.
Further down the order, Stobart
Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala
took a strong fourth, despite coming under late pressure from Petter Solberg, who reduced the margin to less than 4 seconds following the penultimate test.
Jari though went third quickest in the final stage and eventually beat the Norwegian by 11.6 seconds.
Petter blamed 'a massive vibration' in the final stage for his inability to match Latvala but despite that it was a reasonably positive event for the 2003 world champion. Once again he led the Subaru charge and in total he set 11 top five times, finishing more than a minute up on Chris Atkinson, who was sixth in the #2 SWRT-run Impreza WRC.
Skoda privateer, Jan Kopecky put in a very solid and consistent performance to take seventh in his Fabia WRC. The Czech complained that he was down on power compared to his main rivals, but kept plugging away and was pleased to pick up another two points, especially as he had crashed out in Spain last weekend.
Xavier Pons took the final drivers' point in the 'third' SWRT entry, slipping behind Kopecky on the third day after engine problems in SS13, when he was over 3 minutes off the pace.
Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg
and Dani Sola rounded out the top ten, the latter taking the Group N victory in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000, more than a minute up on Brice Tirabassi, who was also in a Peugeot 207 and who finished second in the class.
Sandwiched between the two Peugeots was 2006 Fiesta Sporting Trophy International champion, Alessandro Bettega.
Bettega showed great pace on his debut outing in a World Rally Car and would have finished higher were it not for an off on day 1. He re-started under the SupeRally on Saturday and once again set some impressive times. In total he set eight top ten stage times.
Of the other works drivers' Mikko Hirvonen
snatched the final manufacturers' point in the very last stage, when he overhauled OMV Kronos Citroen's Manfred Stohl.
Mikko crashed out on SS3 on Friday and after that was always going to struggle to get a decent result. He eventually finished in 13th.