Rallying: Gronholm celebrates

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The Independent Online

Marcus Gronholm yesterday maintained Scandinavian dominance in the Rally of Sweden, beating his Peugeot team-mate Harri Rovanpera to this year's title by one minute and 24 seconds.

The duo were joined on the rostrum by Carlos Sainz, who held off a determined charge from the world champion, England's Richard Burns. The Spaniard suffered a puncture on the 39km Hagfors final stage but still managed to edge home in third, just over eight seconds ahead of Burns in fourth.

Gronholm, the 2000 Rally of Sweden champion, now leads the championship by two points from Tommi Makinen after two rounds. Subaru's Makinen was forced out of the rally on the first day when his engine overheated after an excursion through heavy snow.

A spin on the final stage shattered Colin McRae's hopes, but he inherited a potentially valuable point when Kenneth Eriksson's Skoda engine failed on the last stage. The Scot finished seventh but was promoted into the points after his team-mate, Janne Tuohino, deliberately took a time penalty to help his title-chasing colleague.

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