Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke set about cementing his dominance on Rally Finland 2016 and heads into the final leg of the iconic event with a lead of over 41 seconds in the Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.The Citroen DS3 driver and his co-driver Paul Nagle won four of today’s stages and head Jari Matti Latvala in the VW Motorosport Polo WRC and teammate Craig Breen who is a further 1:02 behind in third.
Meeke started the day by comfortably winning the first test of the day, the famous Ouninpohja stag, by over 13 seconds while DMACK’s Ott Tanak continued his recovery drive to that the win on SS14. Latvala was hampered by road position but still managed to hang on to second place. Craig Breen continued his impressive drive taking fourth on both stages despite receiving a time adjustment for having to stop at Eric Camilli’s accident. Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier received a two minute and ten second time penalty for stopping on the liaison section after Ouninpohja to repair a brake problem before the next stage.
Meeke won SS15 before setting a conservative time on SS16 to head to service with a lead of 36.4 seconds over Latvala. Breen held third and was closely followed by Neuville, Paddon and Ostberg. On SS17 and SS18 Meeke set fastest time again before easing off on the pace to finish the day. Tanak managed to recover from a puncture to take fourth on SS18 to continue his impressive comeback. Latvala and Breen maintained second and third.
Ogier won the final two stages of the day as Tanak and Breen traded times also the pair are separated by 11.5 seconds going into the final leg. Neuville, Paddon, Ostberg, and Mikkelssen are 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th respectively and round out the top WRC drivers.
In WRC2 it is a Skoda Fabia R5 top three, local star Esapekka Lappi continues to lead the category and has done all day, he is 46.9 seconds ahead of Teemu Suininen with Swedish driver Pontus Tideman rounding out the top three. Likewise in the Junior WRC Christian Ole Veiby has led the class all day in his Citroen DS3 R3T Max. The Norwegian driver leads Simone Tempestini by 18.3 seconds with local driver Juuso Nordgren rounding out the top three.
Just four stages remain for the crews to tackle tomorrow including the 10.15km Power Stage.