Rally Finland: Update #12
Latvala looking comfortable in lead at Neste Oil Rally Finland
Mökkiperä is a Finland classic but this year it was run in the opposite direction to normal. The first part was on flat roads with long straights and 90 degree corners, before turning into a high-speed roller coaster over big jumps and through fast bends.
Mads Østberg retired from fifth place at Neste Oil Rally Finland when the roll cage of his Citroen DS3 was found to be damaged during the mid-leg service in Jyväskylä.
The Norwegian reported a ‘massive impact’ with a rock in Leustu (SS18) immediately before service. When the car was examined by FIA scrutineers, they found the damage.
“I can’t express how gutted I feel,” said Østberg. “We didn’t have the best start to the rally, but made progress all the way and this morning we had a great rhythm and the pace was good. We were on course for a big battle with Andreas (Mikkelsen) and Mikko (Hirvonen).”
Citroen Racing deputy team principal Marek Nawarecki said the impact happened when the car landed after a jump and the suspension was compressed.
“We carried out a thorough investigation of the front right suspension, but in fact the impact was underneath the car on the undertray,” he added. “This damaged part of the roll cage in the engine bay. It’s not something we’re able to fix here, so we have no choice but to withdraw his car.”
In the stage a large hole just after the midpoint caused issues for several drivers. Kris Meeke, Robert Kubica, Elfyn Evans and Henning Solberg all hit it, the latter two suffering punctures on their Ford Fiesta RS cars.
Leader Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest by 1.2sec from Volkswagen team-mate Sébastien Ogier, with Meeke third, 0.2sec further back in his Citroen DS3.