Gronholm gains home comfort

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Marcus Gronholm won the rally of Finland for the fourth time in five years yesterday. The Finn coasted to victory having established a clear lead on the first two days. After a gearbox problem troubled him on Saturday, though, the Peugeot driver was in no mood to take any risks and allowed the Estonian Markko Martin to close on him as the finish line approached.

He still won comfortably, 34.7 seconds clear of the Ford driver Martin, who last year became the first non-Scandinavian to win in Finland. The veteran Citroën driver Carlos Sainz was third.

Gronholm was overjoyed with his first success of the season, especially after being stripped of his Cyprus win because of a technical infringement. "We've waited a long time for this," he said. "This is certainly a victory that we've had to work for, but that makes it all worthwhile."

Sebastien Loeb stretched his lead in the world championship to 22 points over Petter Solberg by finishing fourth.

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