Martin holds off charging Gronholm

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The Independent Online

Markko Martin drove to his second successive world rally victory as he won the Rally of Catalunya yesterday.

Markko Martin drove to his second successive world rally victory as he won the Rally of Catalunya yesterday. The Ford driver held onto his overnight lead to finish 23 seconds ahead of Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm. Citroen's Carlos Sainz finished on the podium in his final home event, ahead ofStéphane Sarrazin.

Martin, who drove to victory in Corsica, won only one of the stages on the final day as Gronholm closed in on the Estonian after setting the fastest time on the last two stages. Subaru's Petter Solberg ended in fifth.

World champion Sebastien Loeb failed to finish after bowing out on day two when he cracked the oil sump on his Citroën Xsara. Solberg held second place in the drivers' standings, three points ahead of Martin heading into the final round in Australia.

Ford have taken second place in the manufacturers' championship, which has already been won by Citroën, as third-placed Subaru cannot now catch them.

Britain's Guy Wilks suffered a fatal blow to his junior world championship title hopes on the final day when he left the road and could not get back onto complete the stage despite not damaging his car.

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