Citroën's Sebastien Loeb has earned himself a place in the WRC record books as he steered his Xsara to yet another win - his fifth in a row - in the Rally of Acropolis this weekend.

Citroën's Sebastien Loeb has earned himself a place in the WRC record books as he steered his Xsara to yet another win - his fifth in a row - in the Rally of Acropolis this weekend.

The reigning world champion extended his lead to 23 points by the season's halfway point, but said he was more concerned with the points earned by his team than any accolades.

"It was tough because being first on road was tricky and Marcus Gronholm was very quick. In general, the car was fantastic and there were no problems. The record isn't the most important thing. What is important is the result for me in the drivers' championship and for Citroën in the manufacturers' championship," said Loeb.

The Frenchman came into the final leg of the event with a margin of just under one and a half minutes over Ford's Toni Gardemeister, and maintained his lead to take his fifth consecutive WRC victory.

Loeb's latest win, and the third place by replacement team-mate, Carlos Sainz, has elevated Citroën to the top of the manufacturer's points table. Sainz, who was coaxed out of retirement by Citroën rally boss Guy Frequelin to replace Francois Duval at the Rally of Turkey and now in Greece, was delighted after scoring more points for the team.

"It has been a fantastic weekend and I am proud to have succeeded in meeting the objective Guy Frequelin set for me, and proud to have scored valuable points in both events. The team is back on top of the championship and I hope it will stay there."

"As for me, I have finished my career in world class rallying on the podium of the event that gave me my first WRC win," the double world rally champion said. "What more could a sportsman ask for?"

Toni Gardemeister drove his Ford Focus to the second step on the podium and a career-best finish for the talented young driver who said he had been out to attack on the final stages of the rally, and only eased off when he saw that Sainz's split times were slower than his own.

"We had no big problems and the whole weekend has gone well," Gardemeister said "We've pushed hard from the very first kilometre. It's hard to fight against someone as experienced as Carlos but we did it!"

Loeb's win has put him 23 points clear of Subaru's Petter Solberg, who finished ninth after his Impreza suffered a driveshaft failure on Friday. Marcus Gronholm suffered a similar fate in his Peugeot 307 on Saturday and dropped from second to rejoin at fourth, more than a minute behind Sainz.

And while Gronholm was able to make up some valuable time, he noted afterwards that the rough and extremely dusty roads ruled out his chances of competing for a podium.

Unfortunately his team-mate, Markko Martin was also out of form throughout the weekend and drove a rather uncompetitive race to finish in eighth position.

Privateer Mikko Hirvonen surprised the field with his commanding performance onboard the Ford Focus with which he took fifth place.

"It was really slippery in the first stage and so dusty that in places I couldn't see where I was going," Hirvonen recounted. "I was a bit worried going into the final two stages (where he recorded the stage wins), but it has finally gone as it should. We had a few problems but we overcame them and this is a fantastic result."