All three Volkswagen Motorsport crews have completed Shakedown for Rally Finland in the top three positions.
The Polo R has been unbeaten in Finland and Poland, but it’ll be difficult for Volkswagen to continue the winning streak when it comes to starting positions.
Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila, winners of the last two years at Rally Finland, started their campaign for a third win on the rally by taking the lead in Shakedown.
Latvala on his home rally put in on his third run a 2:05.5 to go ahead of current three-times World Rally Champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia in second by over half a second on a rally that’s littered with full-throttle bits and jumps. The Finn averaged 125.50 kilometres per hour in Shakedown, which continues Rally Finland’s streak as the fastest rally on the WRC calendar.
Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger, who won in Poland last time out, completed a top-three lockout in Shakedown for Volkswagen in third place.
Latvala’s performance in Shakedown confirmed his confidence for his home rally, saying “The shakedown result confirmed my good feeling during testing ahead of the rally. Naturally, Finland is a special rally for Miikka and I, and accordingly we really look forward to our home rally.
“The competition is fierce, shakedown proved that, but we are in with a chance of winning and in doing so claiming our third win here in a row. There is still a long way to go, but we will do our best and no doubt the support of the fans will make anything possible.”
Ogier spoke about his starting position disadvantage for Finland. “The shakedown was flawless; the Polo is tuned perfectly. Nevertheless, it won’t be an easy weekend for me, even Juha Kankkunen predicted that my starting position is far from advantageous in the current conditions.”
Mikkelsen added “The shakedown was a good opportunity to get used to the typical Finnish rally since it was a good mix of what we can expect at the weekend. The Polo is responding exactly as it should, we felt comfortable right from the start. So overall it was a good start to the weekend that officially starts this evening, but really gets going tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to it.”