Marcus Gronholm moved into second place in the overall standings of the World Rally Championships after leading the New Zealand Rally from start to finish this weekend.

Marcus Gronholm moved into second place in the overall standings of the World Rally Championships after leading the New Zealand Rally from start to finish this weekend.

Gronholm has 20 points and is six points behind Peugeot teammate Richard Burns in the standings.

Burns managed some stage victories on the final day, but Gronholm had established too big a lead in the early days of the race. He finished in a combined time of 3 hours, 45 minutes 21,2 seconds, over a minute ahead of Burns.

Petter Solberg of Norway was third and Citroën’s Sebastien Loeb finished fourth. Fifth place went to Finn Toni Gardemeister, driving a Skoda, while Alister McRae finished sixth in a privately entered Mitsubishi.

Tommi Makinen finished in seventh place, Didier Auriol was eighth, Francois Duval of Belgium ninth with Mikko Hirvonen, completing the top 10.

Peugeot lead the manufacturers' championship as the series heads for Argentina next month.

"I'm absolutely delighted. I came here with the intention of winning and now I have done it. This has been an extremely satisfying rally for me and for Peugeot," said Gronholm.

He had one incident that marred his total domination when he rolled his car on Saturday. "That was a bit of a scary moment," Gronholm said. "It was just a stupid mistake as I was under no real pressure.

"I was slightly too fast. Luckily, there was no real damage but it meant that I had to take it easy over the closing stages."