Jari-Matti Latvala has made his quest for a third Rally Finland win in three years by leading Shakedown in Ruuhimäki.
The Volkswagen Motorsport driver put in a 2:05.5 in the Polo R, which is half a second better than his championship-leading team-mate Sébastien Ogier in second place with a 2:06.0.
Latvala’s second team-mate, Rally Poland-winner Andreas Mikkelsen was third, only slightly behind the French team-mate who pipped him for second. This meant Volkswagen had a top-three lockout coming into the opening stage later today in Harju.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was the first of the i20’s in fourth place, while M-Sport’s Mads Østberg was fifth. Neuville’s team-mate Hayden Paddon was sixth in the second i20.
Ott Tänak in the DMACK World Rally Team Ford Fiesta was in seventh place despite having to put the heartbreak of losing the Rally Poland win aside. Completing the rest of the top ten finishers for Shakedown were Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Kevin Abbring.
While Rally Finland is no stranger to high-speed crashes, the 2016 Silk Way Rally runner-up Yazeed Al Rajhi did crash out in Harju with his Yazeed Racing-liveried Ford Fiesta RS with experienced co-driver Michael Park. The Saudi Arabian finished Shakedown in thirty-third place.
The World Rally Championship 2016 edition of Rally Finland starts later on today at 17.00 (local time) with SS1 in Harju where the rally will officially begin.