Rally Finland: Update #14
Big scare for Rally Finland leader Latvala
Surkee had several rhythm changes which challenged drivers’ abilities to adapt. Wide roads contrasted with narrower sections, with rocks lining the roadside in the latter.
Jari-Matti Latvala’s Neste Oil Rally Finland lead came under threat from Volkswagen team-mate Sébastien Ogier as brake problems continued to hinder the Finn.
Latvala ceded 7.3sec to his colleague as he drove the second pass through Surkee with just three brakes working on his Polo R after a massive impact in a hole across the road in the previous test.
“We managed to fix some of the things but not completely and I had to drive with it. It was very, very hard I can tell you. We don’t have the front right caliper so we only have three brakes. There’s nothing else I can do, I have to drive with three brakes,” said a deflated Latvala.
Two stages remain before Latvala reaches the sanctuary of service, but the next at Himos ski resort includes a steep downhill section where his lack of brakes will be severely tested.
Another victim of the ruts in the previous stage was Mikko Hirvonen, whose Ford Fiesta RS continued to struggle with a broken front right shock absorber.
“In this stage the roads were not in such a bad condition. In the fast sections it wasn’t a problem but it feels really soft. We’ll manage,” said Hirvonen, who remains fifth.
Ogier claimed the stage win by 5.1sec from Kris Meeke’s Citroen DS3, with the limping Latvala still third fastest. Both Ogier and Meeke hit the same hole as Latvala but emerged unscathed.