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Finland's Mikko Hirvonen has won his first ever World Rally Championship round by taking out the final Telstra Rally Australia in Perth.

Hirvonen increased his overnight advantage over Petter Solberg by 4.9 seconds to win the rally by 37.1 seconds. It was also the first time that Ford has won Rally Australia.

Overcast conditions during the final day didn't hamper Hirvonen, who drove superbly to take the win, co-driven by Jarmo Lehtinen.

Solberg's second place was equal with his best result for the season, while Manfred Stohl repeated his third placing from last year's Rally Australia in his Peugeot.

Xevi Pons took fourth, while Marcus Gronholm completed his remarkable drive back through the field to take fifth place in his Ford.

There was drama on the final day in Group N, with leader Marcus Ligato retiring with engine failure in his Mitsubishi, allowing young Finn Jari Matti Latvala to take the victory, 33.7 seconds in front of the Italian, Baldacci.

Australia Dean Herridge was third in the category and 8th outright, while Chris Atkinson managed to finish 10th after his day one woes.

Of the other leading Australians, Darren Windus was 12th, Chris Anderson 14th, Toby Heyring 15th and James Anderson 16th - all four in Subaru Impreza WRXs.

The result of Rally Australia means that Sebastien Leob is now the World Rally Champion for the third straight year. Despite his absence, he takes the title because Marcus Gronholm needed a victory in Australia to keep the title chase alive. 

We'll have more news, views and snippets from Telstra Rally Australia tomorrow - stay tuned.

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