Citroen's Carlos Sainz cruised through the final leg of the Rally Argentina today [Sunday] to win by 1 minute 32.5 seconds and become the most successful rally driver in history.

This was his 26th world rally victory, edging one ahead of ex-Ford driver Colin McRae. The Spaniard, who hadn't won since last year's Rally of Turkey, was delighted with the result, promising that it wouldn't be his last.

"The record is important, but more important than that is the victory and the way it came," he reflected. "On the last rally I didn't feel so well and after that rally I wasn't very happy. It was not my fault. Before this rally I thought I had to make a good rally and I did that. I won here 13 years ago, two years ago and I am winning again here is more important than the number. I would like to thank the team and Michelin. The car was great. I'm really happy to be part of this."

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Team-mate Sebastien Loeb meanwhile was second in the sister Xsara WRC to extend his championship lead to 17 points. The Frenchman now has 61 points, whilst his nearest rival, Petter Solberg has 44.

Citroen team boss, Guy Frequelin was delighted with the one-two - especially as it increased their advantage over Ford in the manufacturers'.

"I'm very happy from this rally,2 said Frequelin in the post-event press conference. "First for Carlos and Marc, because they won the rally. Carlos is a very good emperor for us, for the team, to develop the car. He was very unlucky last year and I'm very happy for him now. I am very happy for Sebastien and Daniel, they have eight points more in the championship for the drivers and I'm very happy for the team because we are scoring 18 points for the manufacturers."

Francois Duval was next up, to notch up his third podium of the season. Although he was a way behind Loeb, he had a just as much of a margin to Mikko Hirvonen, who finished fourth. The Belgian therefore cruised to the finish in his Focus.

"It's a great result for the team, especially after Markko's bad crash," noted Duval. "The car hasn't been so easy to drive but we've had no real problems and I made no mistakes. The roads were difficult, especially yesterday and today. There were many new stages for me as it's only my second time here so I've not pushed too hard and I'm delighted to be on the podium. It's incredible to see the huge crowds and it's been great to drive in front of so many people."

Behind Hirvonen, Harri Rovanpera and Argentine private entrant Luiz Perez Companc maintained their overnight placings to finish fifth and sixth. Rovanpera admitted though that he didn't have a lot to drive for today.

"It was just a question of getting to the finish," he explained. "After the problem on the opening day our car gave us no trouble at all for the rest of the rally, so I am very frustrated by the thought of what we might have achieved here. We were conscious that we had to get to the finish, so there was no point in taking any risks and we tried to drive as cleanly as possible."

Gilles Panizzi completed his recovery after first day problems to finish back in the drivers' points in seventh for Mitsubishi, while the final points scoring position was taken by Gabriel Pozzo, in a privately entered Subaru.

"I am very happy for the team that we are driving over the podium, everyone has worked extremely hard for this," noted Panizzi. "If you look at the results, the only team to have both its cars at the finish is Citro?n; all the other manufacturers also only got one car to the finish. This year's event was very, very difficult. We have something to be pleased about."

Anthony Warmbold and Daniel Sola completed the top ten, the latter taking the Production Car WRC honours by 1min 11.1secs.

"I am really happy", noted Sola. "My plan here was just to finish as high as possible and when I rolled on the first day it was not so easy. I want to say thank you very much to my mechanics, because they put the car right every time. It was not easy also, because I didn't know some of the stages today and for me it was important to keep concentrating, because if you drive too slow you don't get the feeling. Now I have led on three gravel rallies in different countries this year; that is also important to me."

In total 29 competitors were classified at the end of the 26 stages, after 69 began the event on Thursday evening.

Amongst the retirees were four 'works' cars, namely Markko Martin [SS5 - rolled], Petter Solberg [SS10 - mechanical], Marcus Gronholm [SS19 - hit a rock] and Kristian Sohlberg [SS19 - mechanical]. Martin's crash was particularly horrific, luckily though the Estonian and his co-driver, Michael Park were not seriously injured.

Its back to Europe now for round nine of the WRC as the teams prepare for the challenge of the challenge of Rally Finland, which starts from the town of Jyvaskyla on Friday 06 August. One of the most famous events of the season, the rally is based on the smooth, flowing gravel roads around Jyvaskyla and features some of the highest speeds and biggest jumps of the year.