Jari-Matti Latvala strengthened his grip on Rally Finland with an impressive afternoon performance that gives him a solid lead over VW teammate Sebastien Ogier going into tomorrow’s final stages.
After a tense morning on the second day of the forest-based event, Latvala extended his lead to 6.2s, gaining 3.3s in Jukojarvi (SS16) alone when Ogier clouted a rock near the start of the stage, damaging a wheel but escaping a puncture.
“I was on the edge of the road, near a ditch, and we hit a rock,” said Ogier. “I thought we might have a puncture so I backed off.”
Latvala reinforced his advantage with a time 5.2s quicker than Ogier on the next test, Surkee, extending his lead to over 11s.
He then gained another 1.8s on the final test to take a 13.2s lead into tomorrow’s final two stages.
The big casualty of the day was Citroen’s Kris Meeke, who went off on a right-hander in SS16, and was forced to stop 200 metres later with a broken front-left wheel.
That promoted his teammate Mads Ostberg to a distant third, 1m15s off the pace.
Thierry Neuville is fourth for Hyundai, but his i20 has been running on three cylinders for much of the day.
Robert Kubica returned to the rally under Rally2 rules, but rolled out with just two corners remaining of the final stage today.
|1||Jari-Matti Latvala (VW Polo)||2h20m20.6|
|2||Sebastien Ogier (VW Polo)||2h20m33.8||+13.2|
|3||Mads Ostberg (Citroen DS3)||2h21m48.6||+1m28.0|
|4||Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20)||2h23m47.1||+3m26.5|
|5||Ott Tanak (Ford Fiesta)||2h24m39.7||+4m19.1|