Rally Finland: Update #6
Neuville out with roll cage damage
Another test new to most drivers as it was last used 11 years ago. The opening section was blindingly fast before it merged with the more familiar route in Päijälä village. Plenty of flat-out crests and jumps here.
Jari-Matti Latvala extended his lead into double figures for the first time at Neste Oil Rally Finland as he sped through the second pass of Päijälä 4.0sec faster than closest rival and team-mate Sébastien Ogier Pictured above).
His lead climbed from 7.8sec to 11.8sec and the Volkswagen Polo R driver put his pace down to a lesson learned in the previous test.
“I realised in the stage before that I need to focus, to concentrate on keeping the car in the clean lines and not attack too much in the corners. That seems to have worked. A really, really good stage for us,” said Latvala.
Ogier found the afternoon sunshine had dried the roads since the morning pass, making the surface more loose and slippery. “There’s a little bit of cleaning now. It’s not so much loose but enough for first car,” said the Frenchman.
Kris Meeke was just 2.0sec down on Latvala and the Citroen DS3 pilot closed to within 2.8sec of Ogier. “That was one of the most beautiful stages I’ve experienced in Finland,” he told WRC Live radio.
Mads Ostberg and Mikko Hirvonen exchanged places in fourth and fifth after Hirvonen spun his Ford Fiesta RS. “The rear touched a post and we spun. We were lucky not to lose a wheel,” said Hirvonen.
Juho Hänninen reported intermittent power steering problems in his Hyundai i20 while Henning Solberg changed a front right puncture after hitting some stones.