The Citroën Total World Rally Team notched up its fourth consecutive one-two finish of the season on Rally Finland today. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena claimed their sixth victory this year, leading from start to finish, with team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finishing just 6.1 seconds adrift after 303.52 kilometres of competition. Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila rounded off the podium positions.
In the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers, Loeb has once again extended his advantage and the Frenchman now has a 43 point lead over Hirvonen. Petter Solberg and Mads Ostberg also retain third and fourth respectively. In the Manufacturers’ Championship maximum points for Citroën ensures a commanding advantage over Ford.
Today’s route took in three stages, all repeated, and concluded with the legendary Ouninpohja stage which is regarded as one of the most challenging and spectacular in the sport. The second pass over this 33.01 kilometre stage was the Power Stage, where an additional three, two and one point were on offer for the fastest three drivers. Here, Hirvonen, Solberg and Loeb collected the points, all three of them beating or matching the previous stage record.
Loeb led the rally from the outset; however there was no respite for the Frenchman today as, without team orders, Hirvonen was determined to push to the limit to win his home round of the Championship. Loeb was therefore forced to maintain his pace to secure his 73rd world rally and third Rally Finland win. Behind Hirvonen, both Latvala and Solberg were unable to match the pace and finished third and fourth respectively. Mads Ostberg lost time with a broken prop shaft but managed to reclaim fifth position ahead of Ott Tänak. Finland’s Matti Rantanen and Jari Ketomaa were seventh and eighth respectively, Martin Prokop claimed ninth and Sébastien Ogier rounded off the top 10 for Volkswagen Motorsport. Ken Block was the leading retirement of the day, the American breaking the suspension after a jump when he was holding 10th overall.
The FIA World Rally Championship contenders now head to central Europe for ADAC Rallye Deutschland (24-26 August), an all-asphalt event based in the roman city of Trier.
Rally Finland – Final Provisional Results (subject to final scrutineering)
1. Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena 2. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen 3. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila 4. Petter Solberg/Chris Patterson 5. Mads Ostberg/Jonas Andersson 6. Ott Tänak/Kuldar Sikk 7. Matti Rantanen/Mikko Lukka 8. Jari Ketomaa/Mika Stenberg 9. Martin Prokop/Zdenek Hruza 10. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia
Source: FIA World Rally