Esapekka Lappi delivered a faultless display to retain the lead of WRC 2 at Neste Rally Finland on Saturday night.
The Finn only won one of the day’s eight blisteringly quick speed tests in the forests near Jyväskylä, but he was never out of the top three times in his Skoda Fabia R5 to lead fellow countryman Teemu Suninen by 46.9sec with one day remaining.
“Everything is going according to plan,” said Lappi. “We knew that all our rivals would push hard in the long Ouninpohja stage this afternoon, so we did the same and it paid off with fastest time.”
Suninen, winner of the last two rounds in Italy and Poland, claimed two wins in his Fabia R5 as he gradually stretched his advantage over Pontus Tidemand’s similar car to 11.1sec. Swede Tidemand ended the day on a high with victory in the final test.
Karl Kruuda looked secure in fourth in his Ford Fiesta R5 until the Estonian spun into a ditch and became stuck for almost two minutes. It only cost him one place though, as Elfyn Evans recovered from yesterday’s power steering problem to take fourth in a similar car.
Evans won two tests this morning but is more than 70sec adrift of Tidemand and almost 90sec clear of Kruuda, despite a sticking throttle pedal. Henning Solberg completed the top six in another Fiesta RS.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Neste Rally Finland.