Hirvonen leads WRC after dramatic Rally of Turkey win

Mikko Hirvonen reclaimed his spot at the top of the World Rally Championship standings today as Ford secured a one-two finish ahead of Citroen's Sebastien Loeb in Turkey.

Ford's tactical ploy on day one, with Hirvonen and team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala slowing to allow Loeb to take the lead and run first on the road for a second day, worked perfectly and proved crucial to their win.

Loeb was forced to contend with more difficult stage conditions than the Ford duo on the opening two days, falling off the pace of the Finnish pair.

That gave Ford enough of an advantage over Sunday's three stages to hold on to their first and second positions with the Frenchman running third on the road.

Even a puncture three kilometres from the end of the event failed to deny Hirvonen victory, and the Finn held on to win by 7.9 seconds.

"Both front tyres are completely finished and we had a puncture on the left-front corner," Hirvonen told autosport.com.

"I came so slowly through the last three kilometres. But it's a fantastic effort from the whole team."

Loeb, who now sits three points behind Hirvonen in the championship standings, was disappointed to have finished behind his rival but happy to pick up some points.

"I tried hard in this stage, had a really good start and was faster, but we destroyed the tyres," he said.

"I only had one spare wheel so at the end I decided to go very slow to not risk a puncture.

"It was a good fight, but too much road cleaning. I will be back. We cannot win every time, better to get third than to retire."

Behind the top three, Loeb's team-mate Dani Sordo recovered to finish fourth after his suspension problems on day one.

He finished ahead of the Solberg brothers, with Stobart Ford's Henning coming in fifth and Subaru's Petter taking sixth.

Britain's Matthew Wilson finished seventh in the other Stobart Ford to finish, with Conrad Rautenbach taking the final point in his Citroen.

Munchi's Ford duo Federico Villagra and Barry Clark rounded off the top 10.

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