Gronholm is the sixth Finn to win the world championship
Gronholm wins World Rally title

CARDIFF, Nov 26 (AFP) - Marcus Gronholm of Finland in a Peugeot won the 2000 World Rally Championship here on Sunday by finishing second in the closing Rally of Great Britain.

The race was won for the third successive year by Britain's Richard Burns in a Subaru, with Gronholm second 1min 5.6sec back ensuring the points he needed to lift the title for the first time.

Gronholm is the sixth Finn to win the world championship and he succeeds compatriot Tommi Makinen (Mitsubishi), who had won the previous four.

Burns looked to have blown his chances of becoming the first Briton to achieve a consecutive hat-trick on Friday morning when he damaged the rear suspension of his Subaru on stage two in the Welsh forests.

However, the 29-year-old Oxford-based star recovered brilliantly and moved into the lead after Scotland's Colin McRae had crashed out on Saturday.

From then on, the result was never really in doubt and Burns gradually pulled clear of Gronholm, who was driving cautiously with the championship in mind - knowing a top-five finish would secure him the crown.

Some Burns supporters had threatened to obstruct Gronholm on the final stage at Margam if the championship was still up for grabs.

But the 32-year-old enjoyed a trouble-free run and coasted home to give Peugeot the drivers' title to add to the manufacturers' crown they wrapped up in Australia earlier this month.

Tommi Makinen, Gronholm's compatriot whom he was deposing as world champion, came out on top in a see-saw tussle with Carlos Sainz of Spain for third place in the rally.