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Abarth Grande Punto driver, Anton Alen, has won the Rally Russia, round four of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, taking eight wins from a total of 10 stages.

The 24 year-old Finn – the son of rallying legend Markku Alen - enjoyed a reliable and trouble-free run to the finish, having led from SS2, with an eventual winning margin of more than two minutes.

In second and third places were the Peugeots of Enrique Ojeda and Nicolas Vouilloz – who both lost time with punctures at the end of the opening day – while Andrea Navarra was fourth to ensure that he maintains the overall lead of the drivers’ standings.

Abarth and Peugeot are now tied in the lead of the manufacturers’ standings.

Local driver Andrei Zhighunov claimed fifth, just ahead of the similar Mitsubishi of Italian Marco Cavigioli – who started the day less than a second behind Navarra.

In seventh was the Russian Mitsubishi driver Boris Fedotov, while the Hungarian Gergely Szabo took the final point for eighth in another Lancer Evolution. Citroen C2-R2 driver Simon Jean-Joseph just missed out on points in ninth place, while the Honda Civic Type R of Dani Sola – which had climbed as high as sixth place – was forced into retirement on the road section on the way to the final stage, after hitting a large hole in the road.

Other retirements included his team mate, Luca Betti, who went out with a hole in his car’s sump after a heavy landing, and Renato Travaglia – who retired with broken suspension on his Mitsubishi. Peugeot Sweden driver Jimmy Joge led on the opening stage, but also succumbed to broken suspension.

“Today was a very difficult day, as although we had a good lead we needed to stay really concentrated,” Alen said at the finish. “The car has been fantastic all weekend, but this rally has been a real challenge because all the roads are so different.

“After the Peugeots that were behind me on Friday lost time with punctures, I was able to relax a little bit, but the level of competition was always high. This is my first overall win, and I hope that it gives me even more confidence for the future. Your first win is always a special moment: I would like to thank the whole team.”


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