The Estonian, 23, is 8.5s clear of local hero Juho Hanninen after three stages at the wheel of his MM Motorsport Ford Fiesta S2000.
He said: “It was okay, I think that my times were quite good. The car is working very well and I’m happy with the set-up. It’s never easy in Finland though because it’s fast and so tricky but I’m not the limit and having been braking twice in some corners because not fully confident with the notes. We had a 60-kilometre test in Estonia before the rally and that was crucial following our crash on the last round in Greece.”
Second-placed Hanninen, at the wheel of a Red Bull Skoda Fabia, said he was having trouble keeping up with Tanak, despite going faster than him on stage three.
“We’ve had no problems and I would say that I’m happy with the driving but the times aren’t there,” said Hanninen, who heads the SWRC title standings. “Tanak is doing very well and I can’t catch him.”
Martin Prokop is third after three stages in his Fiesta. He reported making a few mistakes in his efforts to keep up with the flying Tanak. “We were coming too fast into some corners or sliding too much, but overall I am happy,” said the Czech. “We also had a few big moments where I thought I would roll the car but luckily we are still here.”
Eyvind Brynildsen is fourth in his PS Engineering Skoda and felt a lack of confidence with his pace notes was holding him back. Karl Kruuda is fifth after surviving a brush with a rock on the first stage. Hermann Gassner is sixth with Fryges Turan seventh after the Hungarian reported making a handful of mistakes on stage three.
Following Albert Llovera’s retirement on the road section three kilometres from overnight service, Bernardo Sousa completes the SWRC runners in his Fiesta, despite a broken front differential restricting him to rear-wheel drive only.