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.