2018 Neste Rally Finland: Tänak Pulls Away At The Front

Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Toyota‘s Ott Tänak has extended his Rally Finland lead to 39s over Citroen’s Mads Østberg at the end of Saturday’s eight stages.

The Estonian started the day just 5.8s ahead of Østberg but a run of five fastest stage times helped to increase his lead at the front of the field, with Østberg now in a tight battle for second with Jari-Matti Latvala in the second Yaris WRC.

Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Latvala trails Østberg by just 5.4s going into Sundays final four stages after making the most of Østberg’s costly decision to carry two spare wheels that ultimately upset the balance of his C3 WRC and cost the Norwegian vital seconds across the stages on Saturday afternoon.

Fourth is Esapekka Lappi who makes it three Toyota’s in the top four on the teams home event after making fine progress throughout Saturday having ended the previous day’s action in eighth.

Hayden Paddon sits fifth in the leading Hyundai as championship leader Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen continued to struggle after their dramas on Friday.  Neuville still sits down in tenth after again being near the front of the running order on the road and Mikkelsen is in eleventh, over eight minutes down on Tänak at the front of the field.

Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Teemu Suninen continues to be the best of the M-Sport drivers as he sits ahead of  Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans in their Fiesta WRC’s. Ogier like Neuville again struggled with a poor position in the running order on Saturday and struggled to find a setup that suited his Fiesta’s new rear body parts. Craig Breen is in ninth at the end of Saturday.

WRC2 has a new leader in the form of Eerik Pietarinen after Kalle Rovanpera broke a damper and dropped to fourth in class while Ken Torn continues to lead the Junior FIA World Rally Championship, albeit by a mere 12.7s, over Emil Bergkvist.

Sunday sees four more stages totalling over 45km including the ‘Ruuhimäki 2’ Power Stage.