Gilbert fends off Finns in Junior WRC
Frenchman holds commanding advantage
The Finn conceded 2min 30sec yesterday following a puncture, but his blistering pace has moved him to within 22.8sec of leader Quentin Gilbert.
Gilbert posted a string of top three times and has just two stages covering 28.26km remaining tomorrow in which to hold off Happamäki.
“It’s not easy to stay ahead of the Finns!” said Gilbert. “I have mixed feelings between our championship challenge and my aim to win here in Finland. I feel I drove at 85 per cent. We have a 22sec gap with two stages to go. The goal is to win but we’ll see after the first stage tomorrow.”
Haapamäki’s aim is clear. “I don't know what will happen tomorrow but I will put the pressure on Quentin. I really want to win, nothing else,” he said.
Ole Christian Veiby retained third, 2min 18.1sec further back, with Terry Folb climbing to fourth following the retirement of Federico Della Casa, who rolled. Jean-René Perry and Mohammed Al Mutawa completed the top six.
Also retiring was Jari Huttunen, recently chosen as Future Rally Star of Finland 2015.
The 21-year-old Finn fought back from food poisoning and brake problems yesterday to climb to fourth. He was closing on third when a heavy landing in SS15 broke his car’s suspension.