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Ford’s Marcus Gronholm has taken a surprise victory in the Sardinia Rally after World Champion and comfortable rally leader, Sebastien Loeb, retired from the event on the first stage of the final day.

Loeb led by half a minute, but spun his Citroen C4 into a ditch on the day’s first stage, and couldn’t get the car going again. This gave Gronholm a handy advantage over his team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen.

Gronholm consolidated his position at the front of the field and took a 29.2 second victory over Hirvonen. Citroen’s Dani Sordo took third place in his Citroen after getting the better of Henning Solberg’s Ford on the final day.

Henning’s brother, Petter Solberg, took fifth place in his Subaru, ahead of Toni Gardemeister’s privately-entered Mitsubishi Lancer WRC.

After his first day dramas, Chris Atkinson finished the rally in 10th place, more than 16 minutes from the lead.

Gronholm’s win sees him take a seven point lead in the World Rally Championship, while Ford has moved further ahead of Citroen in the race for the Makes’ title.

Final results:
1.    Gronholm, Ford, 3h48m42.0s
2.    Hirvonen, Ford, +29.2s
3.    Sordo, Citroen, +1m21.8s
4.    H. Solberg, Ford, +1m36.6s
5.    P. Solberg, Subaru, +2m34.2s
6.    Gardemeister, Mitsubishi, +5m02.1s
7.    Stohl, Citroen, +5m28.6s
8.    Hanninen, Mitsubishi, +9m31.7s
9.    Latvala, Ford, +11m27.7s
10.    Atkinson, Subaru, +16m19.4s

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