Thursday | 06 Aug 2015

Finland driver report: part 2

We analyse how the top drivers fared over the super-fast rollercoaster roads at Neste Oil Rally Finland in the second part of our summary.

Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Polo R)
After a disappointing season to date Latvala needed to win in Finland, and after three French wins in four years, Finland needed Latvala to win. He duly delivered. Sébastien Ogier snapped at his heels all the way, but once Latvala moved ahead with a stunning time in Friday’s second pass through the classic Ouninpohja, he was never headed. A sublime lesson in how to cope with pressure.

Mads Østberg (DS 3)
Østberg came to the rally with confidence high after a pre-event test, and a smiling Mads was a good omen for the weekend ahead. A sticky start left him in the bottom half of the top 10 initially, but once he sorted the damper settings he climbed to fourth. Made the right call to back off in Saturday afternoon’s rain and replaced team-mate Kris Meeke on the podium when the Ulsterman threw away third with a crash.

Ott Tänak (Ford Fiesta RS)
The man of the moment at the previous round in Poland came back down to earth in Finland. He clouted a rock early on Friday morning and broke the front left damper. With no service available, he limped through the rest of the day and did well to restrict his losses. Showed good pace in the final two legs but his motivation had gone. Fifth was a bonus after those around him hit trouble.

Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20)
Without ever feeling comfortable, Sordo worked his way up to sixth, just a handful of seconds behind team-mate Thierry Neuville. But he ditched his i20 in Mökkiperä on Saturday and it took more than five minutes for fans to haul it back on the road. Eleventh was the final outcome and Germany’s asphalt later this month will be a relief for a man who has taken just a single point from the last three gravel rounds.

Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20)
The Kiwi was once again the fastest Hyundai driver out there – until fifth place turned to zero with a crunching roll in SS6 on Friday afternoon. The i20 was too badly damaged to continue and it was an inappropriate end to the 30th anniversary of co-driver John Kennard’s WRC debut. Now it’s time to see if Paddon can replicate his impressive gravel speed of late on asphalt.

Khalid Al Qassimi (DS 3)
At times it was hard to tell if Al Qassimi was enjoying Finland or not. It took the Abu Dhabi man quite some time to come to terms with his pace notes and DS 3 over the big jumps and blind crests. But he didn’t take risks and steadily upped his pace as he gradually became more comfortable. Eventually came home 16th.

Lorenzo Bertelli (Ford Fiesta RS)
Things are looking up for the Italian. After finally making it to the finish without having to use Rally 2 in Poland last month, he scored his first point of the season in 10th. There were a few close calls along the way but Bertelli is making progress and will hope to carry that onto Germany’s asphalt later this month.

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