Jari-Matti Latvala secured his maiden WRC win on the Uddeholm Swedish Rally on Sunday, the second round in the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship.

Latvala took the lead on the first 'proper' stage and finished the opening loop 23 seconds ahead of his team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, having made the most of his more favourable position in the running order.

The 22-year-old then proceeded to pull further ahead in the afternoon, when conditions were more even, and another three successive stage wins saw him increase the gap. He eventually finished day 1 with a 48.2 second advantage.

Jari maintained that cushion on Saturday even though conditions were especially challenging, as the mild weather meant there was little, if any snow and ice.

The Finn then paced himself to the finish on Sunday and claimed the victory by just under a minute. He now becomes the youngest driver to ever win a round of the championship, beating the late Henri Toivonen.

Hirvonen meanwhile had to settle for the runners-up spot in sister car and while he conceded he had wanted to claim the maximum ten points he was unable to really trouble his team-mate.

Gigi Galli took the final spot on the podium for the Stobart Ford squad, albeit more than a minute further back, while Subaru's Petter Solberg came in fourth and Andreas Mikkelsen was fifth.

Citroen #2 Daniel Sordo rounded out the top six, despite having to start with a 5 minute penalty following an engine change, while Toni Gardemeister was seventh in his Suzuki SX4 WRC and Juho Hanninen was eighth in his Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Hanninen incidentally also took the honours in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship category.

Full report and result to follow soon...

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