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Toyota has won the world rally championship manufacturers title at Telstra Rally Australia in Perth.

It is the team's third world title in less than a decade.

Twice world champion Carlos Sainz finished a fighting second in his works Toyota Corolla in Perth to secure the coveted manufacturers prize.

The win means Toyota will retire from world rallying at the end of this year as reigning champion.

The company is closing its rally program to gear up for a major Formula One assault.

The highly consistent two car team of Sainz and Frenchman Didier Auriol has finished on the podium 15 times this season, and has claimed points in every rally.

Toyota previously won the Manufacturers Championship with its Celica in 1993 and 1994.

Sainz and Auriol have won three Driver's Championships and the team has scored 43 individual rally victories since its first win at Rally Australia in 1989.

Auriol still has a chance of equalling Tommi Makinen for points in this year's world driver's championship but a countback of season wins would award Makinen the tie-breaker.

The Manufacturers Championship is arguably more highly prized than the Driver's title.

A record eight manufacturers fielded cars in this year's title in preparation for a major lunge for the championship in 2000.

Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya came within 11.6 seconds of winning Telstra Rally Australia after 395 competitive kilometres.

They had lowered the gap to ultimate winner Richard Burns to within one second on the last day of the three day contest.

Sainz and Burns completed a the penultimate high speed 25 kilometre stage within one tenth of a second of each other.

Carlos Sainz in action in his Toyota Corolla World Rally Car during the Telstra Rally Australia 1999.