McRae, who led from start to finish in his Subaru, completed the 1,840km to Perth nine seconds ahead of the Finnish driver in an overall time of 5hr 13min 50sec. Leading by 23sec overnight, the 26-year-old refused to yield as his more experienced rival whittled away the slight advantage during the final five stages.
Kankkunen, who used the rally to test drive his new Toyota Celica for the first time in competition, finished more than three minutes clear of the third-placed Kenneth Eriksson, of Sweden.
The rally did not count towards the world championship this year because of restructuring. Although McRae earned no world championship points, it did boost his challenge for the Asia-Pacific championship of which the Australian Rally was the fourth round.
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