Latvala Retakes Finland Lead As Toyota Go 1-2-3

Credit: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Jari-Matti Latvala moved back into the lead of Rally Finland – overhauling rookie team-mate Esapekka Lappi – while Juho Hänninen moved into the third to create a Toyota lockout of the podium places.

Latvala immediately cut into Lappi’s overnight lead through the opening Pihlajakoski test, and then emphatically secured the lead through Päijälä by going 5.4 seconds faster than his young Finnish compatriot.

At the end of the legendary Ouninpohja stage Lappi had lost another 2.5 seconds, and was left astounded at his veteran team-mate’s pace, saying at the end of the stage he would have gone off the road entirely had he pushed any harder.

Hänninen joined his Toyota team-mates in the podium positions when Teemu Suninen overshot a chicane in Ouninpohja, dropping over 20 seconds by having to go back around and avoid any potential penalties from missing it entirely.

It was all change behind Suninen in fourth, as Elfyn Evans moved his way into the top five. Craig Breen had held the position overnight, but fell behind the Welshman when he spun at a junction in Päijälä.

Evans’ position was also helped by Mads Østberg hitting a rock in Ouninpohja, with the Norwegian picking up damage to both the rear suspension and brakes of his Fiesta. This cost him over three minutes, dropping out of the points entirely and moving Thierry Neuville up to seventh.

Kris Meeke holds eighth place but is under increased pressure from the recovering Ott Tänak. The Estonian hit a rock on Friday which set him back over a minute and is slowly regaining places, and cut the gap to Meeke down to 12.4 seconds by midday service.

Sébastien Ogier did not restart due to co-driver Julien Ingrassia failing to get medical clearance to continue the event. Having crashed out of the event yesterday morning, Ingrassia was diagnosed with mild concussion after their crash into trees. His Fiesta WRC was checked out of parc fermé and then immediately retired, with the target to review Ingrassia’s situation this evening for a potential return on Sunday.

1.Jari-Matti LatvalaToyota GAZOO Racing WRT1:42:25.5
2.Esapekka LappiToyota GAZOO Racing WRT+7.8
3.Juho HänninenToyota GAZOO Racing WRT+57.8
4.Teemu SuninenM-Sport World Rally Team+59.2
5.Elfyn EvansM-Sport World Rally Team+1:04.2
6.Craig BreenCitroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT+1:14.2
7.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai Motorsport+1:34.4
8.Kris MeekeCitroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT+2:01.9
9.Ott TänakM-Sport World Rally Team+2:14.3
10.Dani SordoHyundai Motorsport+3:21.6