Manfred Stohl has taken the victory following the three-day Rally of Nations event this weekend, being run to cover Mexico's absence from this year's World Rally Championship calendar.

Stohl began the extremely short final leg, which included just two stages - the 17.94 kilometre Comanjilla 3 test and a fifth run through the short 4.42 kilometre Scotiabank super special, 7.5 seconds up on his fellow countryman and Team Austria colleague, Andreas Aigner.

In the end though the former OMV-backed man and ex-WRC regular managed to almost double his advantage and he took the spoils by 14.4 seconds.

"There's nothing bad to report," said Stohl. "We were a little worried about the engine [at the start of the day], but it was okay. I'm very happy I finished."

"It was a very good competition," added Aigner. "I felt I was going too fast but driving well. I hope it was a good show for the spectators."

Despite finishing one-two though, Stohl and Aigner were unable to stop Xavier Pons and Dani Sola from taking the honours for Spain in the 'Rally of Nations' competition.

Indeed Team Spain won ten of the events 18 stages and finished with 1067.5 points - 128 ahead of Austria, who only took four stages wins. France came in third with 714 points, followed by Germany (542.5), Sweden (442.5) and Mexico '2' (320).

Meanwhile 1994 World Rally champion Didier Auriol was third in the overall classification, albeit more than 1.5 minutes off Aigner: "Everything's fine, it's really nice to run here and finish the event in the SSS," said Auriol. "It's a great show for the people that come to see it."

Further down the order, ex-Subaru and Kronos Citroen WRC man Xavier Pons was fourth, 28.7 seconds further back, while Mark Wallenwein and Hermann Gassner Jr were fifth and sixth for Germany.

Dani Sola re-started today under the SupeRally and was classified seventh, and he was delighted to give Spain the Nations win, along with Pons.

"A great ending to the rally," stated Sola. "We're in first place in the Rally of Nations and that was our objective coming here.

"Our strategy has been good. It's been a good race against Austria. I'm really thankful to my team."

"Very good," Pons chipped-in. "This last stage was just a formality. I'm happy I was in this Rally of Nations. I'm really thankful to my team."

Of the rest Ricardo Trivino headed home the locals in eighth, despite having lost around ten minutes on Friday with a radiator problem, while Matthew Johnson and Rodrigo Ord??ez rounded out the top ten, with Stefano Marrini eleventh and Per-Gunnar Andersson twelfth.

Former Suzuki and Ford WRC star Toni Gardemeister finished 27th and last after a catalogue of mechanical problems which forced him out on day 1 (steering) and on day 2 (engine/brakes).

"We had problems, but everything's fine, I had lots of fun," Gardemeister reflected.

There were a number of retirements amongst them 2001 Swedish WRC Rally winner Harri Rovanpera, as well as former Junior World Rally champions Brice Tirabassi and Patrik Sandell and 2004 Production Car World Rally champion Niall McShea.



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