Thursday | 31 Jul 2014

Ketomaa benefits from Ott's WRC 2 woe

Jari Ketomaa capitalised on team-mate Ott Tänak’s problems to lead WRC 2 after Thursday’s (31 July) short opening leg of Neste Oil Rally Finland.

Ketomaa completed the opening four special stages with a 35.0sec advantage in his Ford Fiesta R5 over Karl Kruuda. Eyvind Brynildsen, on his first WRC 2 appearance this season, is third, just 1.2sec further back.

Finn Ketomaa led after the opening stage but Drive DMACK colleague Tänak moved to the front in the following test. However, as Ketomaa launched a fierce attack in the penultimate Lankamaa stage in a bid to regain the initiative, Tänak hit trouble.

The Estonian hit a rock near the start and the impact damaged the Fiesta R5’s power steering. He later stopped to change a puncture but the four-minute time loss left him seventh.

Ketomaa admitted he was lucky to survive the stage. “We were fighting hard with each other and I was pushing at 120 per cent. We cracked a wheel rim and I was lucky to get through. But it had to be done, because if we gave Ott a 10sec lead tonight it would have been impossible to catch him,” he said.

Brynildsen ended the opening day third in WRC 2

Brynildsen initially held third in his Fiesta RRC but Kruuda moved ahead, despite losing confidence in the rutted roads.

Sébastien Chardonnet is fourth, despite almost rolling after entering a corner too fast in the opening stage and flinging his Citroen DS3 R5 onto two wheels. He has more than two minutes in hand over Oleg Kikireshko’s Fiesta R5.

Yazeed Al Rajhi is sixth after breaking his Fiesta RRC’s front left suspension arm in the penultimate stage and dropping a minute as he limped through the Jyväskylä street stage.

The only casualty was Valeriy Gorban who retired his Mini John Cooper Works when a stone pierced the radiator after a heavy landing over a jump.

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