Rally Finland: Update #7
Latvala widens lead as Meeke closes on Ogier
Kakaristo comprised a large part of the classic Ouninpohja stage but with some of the wide road roller-coaster sections missing. It was last used in 2008, but in the opposite direction.
Kakaristo was dry and loose and road opener Sébastien Ogier cut a frustrated figure at the stage end.
He dropped 8.3sec to leader Jari-Matti Latvala to add to the 4.0sec ceded in the previous stage, and within those two tests the margin between the team-mates had stretched from 7.6sec to 20.1sec. Worse still, he dropped behind Kris Meeke into third.
“What can I do?” asked Ogier. “Nothing. I do my best.”
Latvala acknowledged Ogier was at a disadvantage by sweeping the roads but questioned whether there was more to it.
“In some places, for sure, he’s losing out but also it can be a mental issue – when you think you’re at a disadvantage. We were pushing hard and we took some really big risks. Miika (co-driver Anttila) was not telling me to slow down though, so he knew we were on the attack,” said Latvala.
An overjoyed Meeke tried to keep a lid on his excitement. “It’s a little bit crazy, I didn’t expect this,” said the Citroen DS3 pilot.
The duelling Mads Ostberg and Mikko Hirvonen were tied on overall time, Ostberg rueing the set-up on his DS3 which was too low for the increasingly rough conditions. But as they fought, Andreas Mikkelsen was second fastest to leapfrog both into fourth, 2.3sec ahead.
Henning Solberg punctured again in his Ford Fiesta RS and Martin Prokop crashed his similar car 12.7km after the start.