Marcus Gronholm has strengthened his position at the top of the drivers' championship following his victory on the Acropolis Rally of Greece on Sunday.

The Ford man will now go into the two-month summer break with a nine point advantage and well positioned ahead of his home event, the Rally Finland, which is the next round in the championship.

Gronholm took the lead on the first stage on Friday, but lost time on the subsequent tests, before the mid-day service, as he had to run first on the road and sweep away the loose gravel. In the afternoon though he came back and he re-took P1 from Chris Atkinson in the penultimate test of the day to finish the opening leg 8.3 seconds up on Petter Solberg.

The top six was incredibly tight though and just 11 seconds separated Gronholm in first from Dani Sordo in sixth. Day two however, started with the daunting 48.88 kilometre Agii Theodori test and after it the top six was a lot more spread out. Gronholm won the stage - and the repeat run through it in the afternoon - and he increased his advantage so that he went into the final day with a 40-odd second lead.

He then paced himself through the final 80 competitive kilometres on day three to take his third win of the season and his second on the trot after also triumphing in Sardinia two weeks ago.

Sebastien Loeb meanwhile took the runners-up spot, 38.4 seconds adrift at the finish in his Citroen C4 WRC. The Frenchman fell back, like all of Gronholm's rivals, on the second leg in the two daunting runs through the 48.88 kilometre Agii Theodori 1 stage.

Furthermore while the triple world champion definitely had pace and set six quickest stages time in total, to Gronholm's five, punctures in SS10 and SS14 proved crucial.

Petter Solberg took the final place on the podium - the first time the 2007 spec Impreza WRC has finished so well, excluding the runners-up spot he took in Portugal after the Fords were penalised.

Petter and his team-mate, Chris Atkinson had a highly promising event and finished the first day 2-3 for the Banbury-based outfit.

Things went wrong though on day two and a combination of issues dropped them back. Solberg was on course to take second in front of Loeb until a front damper problem in the final proper test on leg 2 dropped him back to third and cost him around 20-30 seconds.

Atkinson had just as tough a time on leg 2 and a puncture in SS10 cost him nearly 2 minutes dropping him from third to seventh. The Aussie then had driveshaft issues in the second loop on Saturday, which further hampered his efforts. He finished the event in sixth in the sister Impreza, behind the Ford's of Mikko Hirvonen and Henning Solberg.

Hirvonen was lucky to get fourth after he went off the road in the first test on Saturday and had quite a big off. The incident though affected his pace for the rest of the morning as he had to compete with a broken windscreen. Mikko eventually finished more than a minute off Solberg and 2 minutes up Henning.

Further down the order, Skoda privateer, Jan Kopecky came through to get seventh in his Fabia WRC. The Czech paced himself throughout and he was rewarded with his best finish of the season.

OMV Kronos Citroen's Manfred Stohl rounded out the points' scorers in eighth, his biggest problem occurring on Saturday afternoon in SS14 when he had to stop and change a tyre due to a puncture.

Brits Guy Wilks and Matthew Wilson were ninth and tenth respectively, the former notching up his first finish of the year in the WRC, after having retired in Norway and Portugal. Guy set his best stage time on Saturday when he was eighth fastest overall.

Munchi's Ford's Luis Perez Companc came in eleventh and in the process he finally got his team off the mark, taking the final manufacturers' point, 7.2 seconds up on Jari-Matti Latvala. Latvala's event was ruined by the Agii Theodori test and he plummeted from 8th to 14th after SS14, having picked up three punctures.

Of the rest Aris Vovos and Urmo Aava were 13th and 14th, while Citroen's Dani Sordo and Munchi's number two driver, Federico Villagra were both classified, but someway down after having to rejoin the action on Sunday under the SupeRally.

Sordo was running fourth overall when transmission problems put him out in SS12, while Villagra went out slightly earlier after clutch problems en-route to SS11.

In the Production Car World Rally Championship category, Toshi Arai took a dominant win, just under 3 minutes up on Andreas Aigner, who led on Saturday until problems in SS9. Mirco Baldacci took the final place on the PWRC podium followed by Mark Higgins and reigning Production champion, Nasser Al-Attiyah.

There was only one big retirement - namely Francois Duval, who went out early on Friday after a water leak damaged his engine. Considering it was his first event since the end of last year, it was most unfortunate for the Belgian and First Motorsport.

The WRC now takes a long break, before the second half of the season gets underway in August.