Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen wins the Rally of Italy
Mikko Hirvonen won the Rally of Italy in Sardinia ahead of Russia's Evgeny Novikov and Estonia's Ott Tanak.
Last Updated: 21/10/12 12:01pm
The 31-year-old from Finland led home the two Ford Fiesta drivers to claim his first victory of the season and his first in a Citroen.
Hirvonen's team-mate Sebastien Loeb, who claimed his ninth successive world drivers' title on home ground in France a fortnight ago, crashed out of the race during Friday's third special stage.
The win also confirmed Hirvonen as second behind Loeb in the overall drivers' standings ahead of the final round in Spain next month.
Novikov, who was one minute and 20.6 seconds behind Hirvonen, was equalling his previous best WRC finish of second, while it was a maiden podium finish for his M-Sport team-mate Tanak.
Norwegian Mads Ostberg finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta but failed to win the event-closing Power Stage after suffering a puncture after he had continued where he left off on Saturday by setting the pace on the first of Sunday's two runs.
Hirvonen told wrc.com: "It feels really, really good. This was the goal we had before the rally and finally everything worked well. I've been five times second here and to finally win the rally I'm really pleased with that."