We complete our lookback at Neste Rally Finland, which witnessed the crowning of a new local star in maiden winner Esapekka Lappi.
Turning Point of the Rally
After giving second best to Lappi in Friday’s marathon leg, Jari-Matti Latvala claimed bragging rights over his young Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate by winning Saturday’s first five speed tests.
He overturned a 4.4sec deficit to build a 8.5sec advantage, and while victory was far from guaranteed, Latvala was the man on whom you’d put your money.
It all went wrong shortly before the midpoint of the famous Ouninpohja. His Yaris stuttered to a halt with an ECU problem, ending his hopes of a fourth home success and, in all likelihood, his championship challenge.
Lappi was clear and Jyväskylä welcomed a new hero.
Save of the Rally
Hats off to Swedish youngster Dennis Rådström. He was one of several drivers to fall foul of the final right-hand bend in the first pass through Sunday’s Oittila test.
But Rådström’s Ford Fiesta R2 had barely come to a halt after rolling before he selected first gear and was on his way again. The result? Second fastest time in the Junior WRC category!
You’ll Never Believe It
Mads Østberg did well to keep his concentration on Saturday morning when the Norwegian powered his Ford Fiesta around a corner to be greeted by four topless women waving him on!
The photograph of the fun-loving females has been shared widely across social media and published in newspapers across the globe.
But debutant co-driver Torstein Eriksen was so focused on delivering the pacenotes that he missed all the fun. “I didn’t see this!” he wrote.
Surprise of the Rally
Before the rally, wrc.com turned the spotlight on young Finnish chargers, Lappi and Teemu Suninen here.
Great things are predicted for both. But few would have been brave enough to predict a victory for the former and an equally stunning drive from Suninen, who was on course to finish second until a lurid penultimate stage crash dropped him to fourth.
Remarkable performances from both, given that Finland was only Lappi’s fourth World Rally Car drive and Suninen’s second.