Rally Finland Day 1: Latvala storms into lead over Ogier

Jari-Matti Latvala has taken control of Rally Finland, storming into the lead thanks to an impressive run through the most famous stage of the rally to push VW teammate Sebastien Ogier into second.

Ogier had led Latvala by 5s after the morning loop of stages, but a huge push on the famous Ouninpohja stage meant he took the lead on SS8. "I have never done this stage as fast before," he claimed.

Although he lost half a second to Ogier on the day-closing superspecial, Latvala said: “I’m very happy, I have to say the afternoon went very well.”

Ogier is 2.6s behind, and said he’d had a “great day” despite running first on the road.

The third works VW Polo, of Andreas Mikkelsen, crashed out heavily. He and his co-driver were unhurt.

Third placed Kris Meeke’s strong day was hamstrung by a 10s penalty for checking his Citroen DS3 in to a control late. He is 24s off the lead.

“Not the perfect day,” he rued. “And in Finland it needs to be 100% to get close. I had a strange feeling with the car all day, so it wasn’t perfect.”

Meeke’s Citroen teammate Mads Ostberg is fourth, over half a minute off the pace.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville lies fifth, while the team’s recent star Haydon Paddon crashed his i20 out of the event on SS6. Dani Sordo is sixth in another Hyundai.

Both M-Sport Fords struggled with suspension issues, with Elfyn Evans in particular having to nurse his car through the day after hitting a huge rock. They are languishing towards the bottom of the top 10.

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About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Finland
Drivers Kris Meeke , Jari-Matti Latvala , Sébastien Ogier , Mads Ostberg
Article type Leg report