Max Vatanen breathed life into his Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy title hopes after a convincing victory at an incident-packed Neste Rally Finland on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Finnish favourite put his local experience to good use to record his first victory of the season in a Ford Fiesta R2 and climb to second in the standings. It also netted him two 2017 WRC 2 prize drives having taken the most points in the last two rounds.
Vatanen, who headed Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa by 2min 25.0sec, said: “We had the pace from the start and were driving with our heads and it paid off. It’s fantastic to have won the prize drives for next year and it gives me motivation to push for the other rounds.”
Sousa’s improved form carried him more than two minutes clear of Poland’s Jakub Brzezinski with Oscar Solberg in fourth, the latter two drivers claiming their best results to date. Kenyan rookie Karan Patel was fifth with Osian Pryce sixth.
Welshman Pryce led initially before rolling on Saturday but the 23-year-old retained the Trophy lead. He is five points clear of Vatanen with two rounds remaining.
Northern Ireland’s Jon Armstrong and Sousa are tied for third, Armstrong missing the chance to add to his Poland victory earlier this month when he crashed on Friday. Also out after accidents were Gus Greensmith and French teenager Nicolas Ciamin.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Neste Rally Finland.