Stage data: SS6, Mokkipera 1 (11.38 kilometres)
By Ford World Rally Team co-driver Miikka Anttila: “This is not our favourite stage because two times we have retired and once we spun and basically lost the rally. It’s a short stage, easy to remember but it’s very, very tricky. It’s very narrow on a forestry road, which is not used every day. It’s quite sandy and gets quite rutted. There are not so big jumps, but there are some bumps on two long straights and so many drivers have retired over there in the past.”
How the action unfolded:
Mikko Hirvonen has edged closer to Sebastien Loeb in the battle for victory on Neste Oil Rally Finland after claiming his second stage win on the high-speed gravel event.
Hirvonen was 0.6s faster than his Citroen team-mate through stage six, Mokkipera, and now trails the double Finland winner by 3.8s on round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship. “I was one second down at one point but I managed to catch him,” said Hirvonen. “I’m happy with the car.”
Loeb, meanwhile, reported making a “few little mistakes” in his Citroen, suggesting he had pushed too hard in some corners.
Jari-Matti Latvala has moved ahead of factory Ford colleague Petter Solberg into third place. The Finn, winner of his home event in 2010, reported an increase in confidence following changes to his Fiesta RS WRC’s damper settings in service. However, he said the car was too low to the ground and he was 2.4s slower than Hirvonen as a result. Solberg, meanwhile, said he struggled to find a good rhythm at the stage start.
The engine misfire that affected Jari Ketomaa’s pace on stage five continues to plague the Finn. He was 10th fastest. Thierry Neuville reported a moment through a ditch nearing the stage finish.
American Gymkhana ace Ken Block said he made a few mistakes during the stage, adding: “We went a bit wide in some sections but no big deal, it’s just about trying to find the areas where I can go quicker.”