Estonian Markko Martin scored his first win in the FIA World Rally Championship in Greece today. The Ford Focus RS WRC 03 driver was untroubled through the final leg of the Acropolis Rally, which took crews south of the event's Lamia base for two loops of three stages.

Martin and co-driver Michael Park had led the rally from the second stage on Friday. This was also Ford's first win with the new car which was introduced to the championship in April.

Citroen's Carlos Sainz took second place after a fight to the finish with Petter Solberg. Solberg moved ahead of Sainz with two stages to go, only to get stuck behind an ailing Colin McRae on the penultimate test.

The Subaru driver entered the final stage 9.4 seconds adrift of Sainz. Solberg set his fourth fastest time from the six stages run today, but he missed out on second by 6.7 seconds.

Fourth place was enough for Richard Burns to extend his lead in the driver's championship, while Citroen's success trims Peugeot's lead in the manufacturer's standings to 11 points.

At Ford Markko Martin's car broke a rear anti-roll bar on the opening loop of stages this morning, other than that it ran ok. His team-mate, Francois Duval and Mikko Hirvonen went out on the opening day, the former sliding off the road on SS5, while the latter went out when he lost a wheel.

Martin controlled the rally from the front through the final leg, arriving back in Lamia with a 46-second gap over second-placed Sainz. The anti-roll bar problem - on the second stage today - affected the car's handling slightly, but otherwise it was a clean run for Martin.

''This is a big result for everybody in the team,'' said Martin, ''The only time I thought maybe we weren't going to win this event, was when the bonnet flew up on the first day. Then I thought: 'Oh no. Here we go again, the longest stage of the rally and another strange problem for us.' But we managed to minimise the time loss and here we are, winners at the finish.''

Co-driver Michael Park added: ''I've dreamt of this day for a lot of years and there are a lot of people who I'll be thanking at home in Britain for getting me to this stage. Markko has driven a great rally, showing he can even do it when he can't really see where he's going!''

Ford boss Malcolm Wilson commented: ''This result means so much to everybody. It's a fantastic thing to be able to give Markko his first win, but at the same time it's so important for Ford and our new sponsors BP. It's amazing, and to think this is only the car's third rally - and we have shown winning pace on the two before it. Brilliant.''

At Citroen meanwhile Sebastien Loeb retired his Xsara WRC with engine problems on the first stage of the event. McRae's brake problems continued into the final leg and were compounded by an electrical glitch which affected the throttle on the penultimate stage. Sainz's car ran without mechanical problems.

Sainz felt he took a Michelin tyre that was too hard for the conditions this morning, but came out on top of his major fight with Solberg through the final stage.

''I am happy with this result,'' said Sainz, ''I don't think we could have done much better. The rally has generally gone well, we had to make a few adjustments to the car to start with, but then it was good. It's good to keep hold of second place today.''

McRae, who finished eighth, noted: ''Things were going to plan until that last-but-one stage, when the throttle problem hit us. We were about two kilometres from the end of the stage when it went wrong. Derek [Ringer, co-driver] had to get out and jam the throttle open. We got through the stage then. On the road section we switched the engine off and suddenly it worked fine. This is a lot of hard work for one point.''

Both Petter Solberg's and Tommi Makinen's Subaru Impreza WRC 2003s ran without mechanical problems through the final leg.

Solberg had closed the gap to Sainz to 0.9s after the first loop of three stages this morning. Fastest on the first two, Solberg dropped half a second to the Spaniard on the third. On the repeat loop through the afternoon, he moved past Sainz on the first stage of the loop, but then got caught behind Colin McRae on the penultimate test. Sainz re-passed him and, despite setting fastest time, Solberg couldn't get second place back.

Makinen was embroiled in a battle for fifth place with Burns. He stalled twice on the first two stages and then felt he'd run on a tyre too soft for the afternoon stages. Burns passed him and Makinen ended the event fifth.

Solberg said: ''We pushed hard on the first two stages this morning and got the time right down, but then in the third one we thought we might not be so quick. There was a lot of uphill stuff which didn't suit the car so well. I was happy to get past Carlos, but then we found Colin with no throttle on the last stage. It was terrible, he didn't move over so in the end I had to hit him in the back. Third is not a bad result, but second would have been better for us.''

Makinen added: ''The team had made some more changes to the car overnight and today it felt quite okay. I took my decision with the tyres for the stages this afternoon, but I made a miscalculation about the heat. The tyres were too soft, it was completely my own mistake.''

Over at Peugeot meanwhile Harri Rovanpera's car ran reliably through the final leg, while Richard Burns' 206 WRC was still hampered by the gearbox problems which struck on SS13. The Peugeot team was unable to change the gearbox, having installed the one permitted spare gearbox on the opening leg. Marcus Gronholm retired at the end of leg one with a broken fuel pump.

Rovanpera ended the event in sixth position following an undramatic final leg. Burns pushed as hard as he dared with his broken gearbox, and managed to get past Makinen and into fourth place on the final stage of the rally.

Burns said: ''I haven't been thinking about catching Tommi today. My first priority was to get the car to the finish, with this gearbox problem, but having done that it was a great result for us. I have to say I am a little surprised that the gearbox has taken this punishment; okay we noticed a few noises coming from some of the other gears, but they have kept on working. I said I wanted to keep my lead here and that's what I've done. I am happy.''

Rovanpera added: ''We haven't done anything today. No testing on the car, no changes to the car, just driving the stages. For me this rally was a little bit lost, with the gearbox problem on the second day.''

Team boss Corrado Provera continued: ''I am very happy for Richard, he drove a very good event, but I do feel for Harri Rovaqnpera - he doesn't seem to be able to do anything to get a result. Marcus as well would have been very close without his problem. But after that, I have to say a big and genuine well done to Ford. We know what it is like trying to win with a new car and they have done it. Congratulations to them.''

Skoda's Didier Auriol was hit with a 20-second penalty following a late departure from first service this morning. The Skoda team took longer than expected changing the fuel pump on the Frenchman's Octavia. Auriol maintained his ninth place through the final day.

''Everything has been okay today,'' he said. ''Some of the stages were suiting the car quite well. The roads weren't too rough today, which was good. This has been quite a hard rally - the Acropolis always is - so it's good for me and for the team to come out here with some points. Now we're going to test the new Fabia WRC in Italy next week. I'm looking forward to this, I haven't done so much with the car on asphalt, so it will be an interesting test.''

Team-mate Toni Gardemeister retired on the second leg with no oil pressure.

At Hyundai none of the works cars finished. Armin Schwarz and Freddy Loix went out of the rally on day one with mechanical problems, while Jussi Valimaki retired prior to leg two with clutch trouble.

Manfred Stohl was driving a semi-works Accent WRC3 and had a trouble-free run through the final leg. The Austrian held a top ten place early in the leg, but then slipped back to 11th. This was his first ever outing in a Hyundai, but it was his 73rd round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

''I'm pleased to have finished this event and gained a lot of experience of the car and the team,'' said Stohl. ''That was what I came here for, it was very important for me to learn about everything. I never thought I would be able to manage a result like this. I am so happy for everybody in the Hyundai team, myself and my sponsors.''

Of the other entries Brice Tirabassi took his second win in this year's FIA Junior World Rally Championship, with a comfortable victory in Greece today.

The Renault Clio driver has led from the start of the event, and has never looked seriously threatened by anybody over the past three days. The final leg proved to be as trouble-free as the rest of the Frenchman's event.

He said: ''This morning a couple of the stages were slippery. We have been the first two-wheel-drive car into the stage, and we take a different line to the cars ahead of us, which means that our line isn't always being swept clean. Apart from that it's been a good day, I am very happy with the result, both on this rally and in the championship.''

Suzuki Ignis driver Daniel Carlsson took second place, with almost five minutes in hand over his team-mate Urmo Aava. Tirabassi's fellow Oreca team Renault driver Simon Jean-Joseph, won the A6 class overall, the Martinique driver being too old for eligibility for the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.

Of the non-works World Rally Car drivers, Gilles Panizzi was the top finisher, bringing his Bozian-run, factory-specification Peugeot 206WRC home in eighth place, following a final leg without any problems. Behind him, 18-year-old Jari-Matti Latvala managed an astonishing top ten finish on only his second ever outing in the FIA World Rally Championship. The Finn drove sensibly throughout the event, to guide his M-Sport-run Ford Focus RS WRC 02 to the finish.

Rally statistics - Leg 3:

Starters: 42 crews (31 Group A and 11 Group N) started this morning.

Top retirements: Kresta (CZ), yesterday's last TC.

Today - Sunday 8 June: Leg 3 started from Lamia at 08h00 and coveed 336.83km, including 105.04km on six stages. The first car arrived back in Lamia at 16h20.

Stage by stage summary - Leg 3:

SS17 Dikastro 1 (18.40kms):
1. Solberg (N) Subaru 16m 08.7
2. Martin (EE) Ford 16m 18.6
3. McRae (GB) Citroen 16m 19.7

Leaders after SS17:
1. Martin (EE) Ford 3h 46m 44.4
2. Sainz (E) Citroen 3h 47m 46.8
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 47m 51.5

SS18 New Tarzan 1 (20.65kms):
1. Solberg (N) Subaru 15m 27.8
2. McRae (GB) Citroen 15m 29.5
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 15m 30.4

Leaders after SS18:
1. Martin (EE) Ford 4h 02m 16.9
2. Sainz (E) Citroen 4h 03m 18.9
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 4h 03m 19.3

SS19 Agios Stefanos 1 (13.47kms):
1. Makinen (FIN) Subaru 10m 02.6
2. Sainz (E) Citroen 10m 03.1
3. McRae (GB) Citroen 10m 03.4

Leaders after SS19:
1. Martin (EE) Ford 4h 12m 24.6
2. Sainz (E) Citroen 4h 13m 22.0
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 4h 13m 22.9

SS20 Dikastro 2 (18.40kms):
1. Solberg (N) Subaru 15m 58.3
2. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 16m 04.1
3. Sainz (E) Citroen 16m 04.8

Leaders after SS20:
1. Martin (EE) Ford 4h 28m 36.8
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 4h 29m 21.2
3. Sainz (E) Citroen 4h 29m 26.8

SS21 New Tarzan 2 (20.65kms):
1. Sainz (E) Citroen 15m 10.3
2. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 15m 13.1
3. Martin (EE) Ford 15m 13.6

Leaders after SS21:
1. Martin (EE) Ford 4h 43m 50.4
2. Sainz (E) Citroen 4h 44m 37.1
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 4h 44m 46.5

SS22 Agios Stefanos 2 (13.47kms):
1. Solberg (N) Subaru 5m 55.4
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 5m 56.4
3. Sainz (E) Citroen 5m 57.1

Leaders in Lamia after SS22 / Leg 3:
1. Martin (EE) Ford 4h 53m 40.5
2. Sainz (E) Citroen +46.0
3. Solberg (N) Subaru +52.7
4. Burns (GB) Peugeot +2m 06.6
5. Makinen (FIN) Subaru +2m 12.3
6. Rovanpera (FIN) Peugeot +3m 44.7
7. Panizzi (F) Peugeot +3m 54.3
8. McRae (GB) Citroen +4m 05.0
9. Auriol (F) Skoda +6m 27.2
10. Latvala (FIN) Ford +11m 33.4

Junior WRC leaders after SS22 / Leg 3:
1. Tirabassi (F) Renault 5h 27m 34.0
2. Carlsson (S) Suzuki +55.2
3. Aava (EE) Proton +7m 28.7
4. Canellas (E) Suzuki +13m 21.2
5. Svedlund (S) Volkswagen +21m 48.1
6. Wilks (GB) Ford +36m 34.1

Final rally statistics:

Event: The rally covered 1443.80km, including 399.49km on 22 special stages (including ten run twice). All stages were on gravel roads closed to other traffic.

Starters: 78 crews (31 Group A and 47 Group N) started the rally.

Finishers: 37 crews (26 Group A and 11 Group N) finished the rally.

Stage winners:
Martin (SS2-11-13-14-15)
Rovanpera (SS3-4-5-12)
Solberg (SS6-9-10-17-18-20-22)
Gronholm (SS7)
Duval (SS1)
Sainz (SS16-21)
Makinen(SS19)

SS8 was cancelled

Rally leaders:
SS1 Duval
SS2-SS22 Martin

FIA World Rally Championships:

FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers (after 6 of 14 rounds): Burns (GB) 37, Sainz (E) 32, Gronholm (FIN) 30, Martin (EE) 23, Solberg (N) 19, C. McRae (GB) 18,Loeb (F) 17, Makinen (FIN) 15, Duval (B) 9,Gardemeister (FIN) 9, Rovanpera (FIN) 8, Panizzi (F) 6, Auriol (F) 4, Robert (F) 3, A.McRae (GB) 3, Schwarz (D) 1.

FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers (after 6 of 14 rounds): Peugeot 73, Citroen 62, Ford 39, Subaru 37, Skoda 20, Hyundai 3.

FIA Junior World Rally Championship (after 3 of 7 rounds): Tirabassi (F) 20, Canellas (E) 13, Aava (EE) 11, Katajamaki (FIN) 10, Wilks (GB) 9, Carlsson (S) 8, Ligato (I) 8, Broccoli (RSM) 6, others.

FIA Production Car World Championship (after 3 of 7 rounds, this event not counting): Blomqvist (S) 11, Singh (MAL) 11, Rowe (GB)11, Arai (J) 10, Ligato (RA) 8, Al Wahaibi (OM), Bourne (NZ) 5, Holowczyc (PL) 4, Ferreyros (PE) 4, Roman (S) 3, others.

Next event: June 19 - 22 - Cyprus Rally.