Solberg takes first WRC home win for Subaru.

"The final leg was quite exciting for me," said Gronholm, "as we had a big battle for fourth place. Under the circumstances, we did the best we could."

Harri Rovanpera was next up in sixth, after Mikko Hirvonen was delayed by gear selection troubles.

Hirvonen failed to start the Satsunai super special stage and was thought to have retired. However, regulations relating only to super special stages allowed him to limp to the service park where a new gearbox was fitted and he took seventh.

Anthony Warmbold took the final championship point, after finishing eighth. Warmbold was also the top privateer entry in his Ford Focus, just under a second up on Toshi Arai, who was ninth in a 2003 Subaru Imprea, while Kamada Takuma rounded out the top ten.

There was only one works retirement during the event, Francois Duval going out today on SS22, after going off the road. He had been running sixth overall.

"We came round a left bend leading into a third gear right. The pace notes said it was a long corner but it turned out to be a short one," he explained. "I went into the bend too deep and tried to correct the line but the car slid off backwards down a steep bank. It was a small mistake. The car wasn't damaged but the bank was far too steep for us to get it back on the road."

In total 53 competitors completed the event, 84 having start on Friday.

The World Rally championship now returns to Europe later this month when the Welsh capital of Cardiff hosts the Rally GB on 16 - 19 September.

The rally has moved forward two months so conditions in the south Wales forests should be drier and faster than usual.


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