Pirelli Star Driver Ott Tanak will carry a lead of more than a minute into the second and final day of Rally Finland.
The Mitsubishi driver, who arrived at Rally Finland on the back of a strong second overall on the biggest event in his home country, didn’t put a foot wrong through the first 11 of 19 stages on this year’s Rally Finland.
Tanak said: “It’s been a good day. Driving here is fantastic, I really enjoy the roads. Okay, this morning, some of the stage was a little bit soft, maybe from the rain overnight, and this meant there were some rocks being pulled out, but it was okay. When we are in the wide places, it’s great. The car has been very good.”
Juha Salo had led initially in his private Mitsubishi, but he went off the road and damaged the suspension on his Lancer in the seventh stage, leaving Tanak to defend a big advantage.
Mindful of the mistakes he made in Turkey and Portugal, while leading Group N, Tanak said he would be taking a more considered approach to the final day. “I want to be the end of the rally,” he said. “This is the most important thing. I have to do that.”
The highest placed P-WRC championship runner present is Patrik Flodin and the Swede is poised to move into the lead of the series if he remains in this position in 24 hours time. Flodin was, however, slowed by a broken driveshaft on the final morning stage. He added that he hadn’t been happy with the power output from his Subaru either.
“It wasn’t the easiest day for us,” said the Impreza driver. “We had the front driveshaft problem this morning and then a broken damper on the eighth stage this afternoon. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it to the finish.”
That damper problem allowed Rally New Zealand P-WRC winner Hayden Paddon to close right up on him, with the Kiwi showing well on his first time in Finland. “We had a couple of damaged wheels this morning,” he said. “We were getting a bit of a vibration in the car, which wasn’t the best. But otherwise it was good. The notes were maybe a bit steady in some of the places, but on the whole I’m happy with the way the first day has gone.”
Like his fellow wildcard Salo, Jukka Ketomaki’s day hadn’t gone to plan either. The Lancer driver suffered a puncture on the fourth stage of the event, dropping him out of third place. He then set fastest times in stages nine and 10 to move back up to fourth by the end of the day.
"It's been a good day. Driving here is fantastic, I really enjoy the roads"