The Norwegian began the final leg but battling tackling issues .

Despite feeling uncomfortable at the wheel, he had been troublefree through the previous 51 kilometres and finished 3m19.2s in front of Kalle Rovanperä’s Skoda Fabia.

“This had been a relief to beat the end,” Østberg said. “in the future here on my very first rally at the category and then win is good. Okay, it’s been a tough weekend but the outcome is strong.”

Having lost time in snow banks earlier in the day in the rally, instant was nearly as good as it could get, although rovanperä was two of the stages of Sunday.

Ford Fiesta driver Gus Greensmith spun in SS 18 enroute to third, 1m29.7s behind Rovanperä. Lucasz Pieniazek spun his Fiesta and finished fourth.

Eerik Pietarinen have been on course to shoot fourth. The Finn retired with a broken wheel and struck on a rock at the point along with his Skoda.

2

After chief rival Jari Huttunen dropped on the penultimate stage, VW Polo driver Ole Christian Veiby maintained victory in two.

However, the fight proved shortlived when Huttunen retired and went off in SS 18.

With Huttunen out from this picture, Veiby eased through the final stage and secured the win by 2m03.5s from fellow Polo driver Emil Lindholm.

Veiby’s team mate Johan Kristoffersson was 16.1sec behind in third. The Swede moved in front of Fiesta driver on SS 18, making it a Polo 123.

Nikolay Gryazin was a close fifth, 18sec back, with veteran Eyvind Brynildsen sixth. The -2 winner Takamoto Katsuta retired from eighth on the stage of last year.

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