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Toyota Team Europe has tightened its grip on the World Rally Championship for manufacturers after the latest round in Finland.

Toyota now leads the manufacturer's championship by 17 points with just four rounds remaining, following yet another podium finish for Corolla driver Carlos Sainz.

Sainz's teammate Didier Auriol added to Toyota's celebrations with victory, and three valuable points, in the final televised stage.

The Toyota pair narrowed the gap to Tommi Makinen in the driver's title after Makinen retired due to gearbox gremlins.

Auriol and Sainz sit second and third respectively in the driver's championship behind Tommi Makinen.

Toyota has now recorded a podium finish for at least one Corolla in nine of the first ten 1999 WRC rallies.

~Carlos has driven very well, although we would all have loved him to finish higher,~ president of Toyota Motorsport, Ove Andersson, said.

~Didier was not happy with his car during the rally and we took the decision to retire him in order to make the best possible preparations for the final stage.

~Fastest time says it all and to maintain our lead in the Championship is fantastic.~

Auriol was running ninth at the time he was withdrawn from the event in preparation for the final point scoring stage.

The FIA WRC now heads to China for the 11th round which will be held from 16-19 September.

World Rally Championship standings after round ten:


Toyota 85 points
Subaru 68
Mitsubishi 61
Ford 35


Makinen 48 points
Auriol 38
Sainz 34
Kankkunen 34
Burns 29
McRae 23

Didier Auriol cements second place in the 1999 World Rally Championship with fourth place in the Rally of Finland in his World Rally Championship Toyota Corolla.