Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm has won the Rally Finland, the first-ever victory for the 307 WRC and the fourth career win for Gronholm on his home event.

Conditions were once more dry and hot over the rapid stages and rollercoaster crests that make Finland the most spectacular rally of the year.

Gronholm took the lead on the opening day, underlining Peugeot's dominance. In total, the 307 WRC set 15 fastest stage times and headed the field from the very first stage. Gronholm's Peugeot was reliable throughout the event, apart from a gearbox problem on the second leg that meant he lost fourth gear for three stages during the afternoon. Despite this, the two-time World Champion kept his opposition at bay to maintain his advantage until the end.

"We've waited a long time for this!" said Gronholm at the finish. "This is certainly a victory that we've had to work for, but that makes it all the more worthwhile. I wasn't completely confident when we started the rally, but my feeling got better and we were able to keep the lead without pushing too hard. The gearbox problem on the second day really worried me, as it meant that our top speed was limited to 160kph. But we lost less time than I thought we would, and so the final day was a question of driving safely but quickly to the end. I'd like to thank everybody in the team for making it possible: this is a very special win."

Gronholm's team mates Harri Rovanpera and Sebastian Lindholm were also in spectacular form on home territory. Rovanpera led the rally from the start until SS6, when he was forced to retire after an accident, while Lindholm was second to Gronholm before crashing out on SS12. On SS1 and SS4, the Peugeots set the top three fastest stage times.

Peugeot Sport team principal Corrado Provera commented: "This is a win that will go down in history: the first for the 307 WRC and our first one this year. I had no doubt at all of Peugeot Sport's capability to achieve this: there were problems that we had to address and now we have done it. I am also happy to say that, barring any last-minute problems, we will be using the five-speed gearbox in Germany. Marcus has done an exceptional job, resulting in possibly the most comprehensive victory I have ever seen. Thank you, and congratulations, to everybody. Peugeot is back!"

The World Rally Championship resumes in two week's time on asphalt, with the Rallye Deutschland. Peugeot led the German event last year, and will field a three-car 307 squad consisting of Gronholm, Cedric Robert and Freddy Loix.