Mikko Hirvonen won the opening round of the World Rally Championship, beating Sebastien Loeb to victory in Rally Sweden.
Jari-Matti Latvala claimed the final podium spot ahead of Dani Sordo. Meanwhile, F1 convert Kimi Raikkonen reached the finish in 30th place despite losing half an hour stuck in a snowbank on Friday.
Although Loeb edged into a narrow lead over the opening stages, a change of differential setting on Hirvonen's Ford just before Friday lunchtime turned the Finn into the pacesetter.
Hirvonen hit the front shortly afterwards, and in the second half of the event he broke Loeb's challenge and pulled away.
A gracious Loeb said: "It's been a very tough weekend and Mikko has done a perfect rally. I made a little mistake yesterday, but even without this mistake I don't know [if we could have won] because we were unable to beat Mikko in the stages. He was really strong; he deserves this victory."
Hirvonen was thrilled to start the year on top, especially as he had successfully managed his tyres despite a lack of snow on many stages ripping studs from the rubber all weekend.
"Fantastic, absolutely fantastic," Hirvonen said. "I'm really happy it's over after all these stages. It was so bad for the tyres; you can't imagine how nervous I was on this last stage."
Rally Sweden results
1 Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) 3h09m30.4s2 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) +42.3s3 Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) +1m15.4s4 Dani Sordo (Citroen) +2m41.6s5 Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) +4m15.3s6 Henning Solberg (Ford) +5m23.4s7 Matthew Wilson (Ford) +7m53.9s8 Mads Ostberg (Subaru) +9m22.2s9 Petter Solberg (Citroen) +10m17.5s10 P-G Andersson (Skoda) +12m08.9s