Subaru's Petter Solberg claimed his third world rally victory today in Australia after coming out on top in a thrilling final day battle with overnight leader Sebastien Loeb.

The Norwegian was fastest on the opening stage to move ahead but Loeb won the next test to move back in front by 1.3 seconds. However, Solberg was quickest on the penultimate stage to regain the lead and when Loeb stalled his engine in the final test, the battle was over. The winning margin was 26.6 seconds.

Peugeot's Richard Burns meanwhile cruised to third to extend his world championship lead while Colin McRae came out on top in the three-way battle with Citroen team-mate Carlos Sainz and Subaru's Tommi Makinen, sealing fourth place with fastest time on the final stage. Sainz ended up fifth, with Makinen sixth.

Mikko Hirvonen took seventh and the final drivers' point went to Hyundai's Freddy Loix, his first of the season.

Full report to follow soon...

 

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