Stage data: SS2, SSS Jokimaa (2.00 kilometres)
By Ford World Rally Team co-driver Miikka Anttila: “It is very similar to the trotting track stage in Jyvaskyla but the only difference is that it’s much more narrow and the speed is not so high. We have to remember there are tyres in the corners but there is also metal inside the tyre. If you hit this it won’t be a small hit. It got quite badly rutted in the corners last year so they put in more Tarmac to prevent that. The stage is more for the company guests but it will be good fun.”
How the action unfolded:
Petter Solberg has set the pace through the second stage of Neste Oil Rally Finland, round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship. Solberg took 1m32.5s to complete the 2.00-kilometre course through the Jokimaa trotting track in Lahti to trim Sebastien Loeb’s overall lead to 1.5s.
“I took it careful because there are some dodgy places but it’s a fantastic time and the car was working absolutely perfectly,” said Solberg, who went up against Evgeny Novikov through the two-by-two superspecial.
Sebastien Loeb was 0.1s slower than Solberg. The factory Citroen driver said: “It was good, I done a good stage and for the moment the start is not bad but we have to continue like this.”
Jari-Matti Latvala was third fastest for the Ford World Rally Team and has climbed ahead of Thierry Neuville in the overall standings into third position. He said: “I was slightly wide in a couple of places but I’m happy to be only losing 0.1s to Loeb.”
Citroen driver Mikko Hirvonen, who grew up in Rally Finland’s host city Jyvaskyla, has overtaken Mads Ostberg in the battle for fifth place in the overall classification. He said: “I lost a little bit too much on this stage, I was cautious and not so brave on those long corners but it was okay.”
Ostberg completed the stage with a damaged windscreen, caused by the gravel kicked up by Thierry Neuville’s car as they rounded the first corner. The Norwegian said he had difficulty seeing where he was going thereafter.
Neuville, meanwhile, reported a problem with the starter motor on his Citroen DS3 WRC. Ott Tanak also completed the stage with windscreen damage. The Estonian has slipped to ninth overall as a result.
Chris Atkinson said he nudged a barrier in his Qatar World Rally Team Citroen. The Australian was eighth quickest, 2.2s down on Solberg.
Esapekka Lappi has claimed the Super 2000 World Rally Championship lead by edging his class through the stage despite running wide at one corner. He is now 0.2s ahead of Hayden Paddon, who said he lost valuable time striking a barrier with the rear of his Skoda Fabia.