Rally Finland: Update #3
Early exit for Robert Kubica.
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.
Volkswagen claimed its 250th stage win with the Polo R when Jari-Matti Latvala further extended his lead in Neste Oil Rally Finland.
He was quickest by 0.4sec from team-mate Sébastien Ogier and his fifth fastest time in six stages widened his lead to 6.1sec. The German manufacturer’s stage win record since its debut in Monte-Carlo last year is a remarkable 67 per cent!
Juho Hänninen (pictured above) dropped from fourth to eighth when he lost a minute after rolling his Hyundai i20. “I had a slow puncture from the start but a couple of kilometres from the finish I hit a bank and rolled backwards into a ditch,” said the Finn, whose car is relatively undamaged apart from a cracked windscreen.
Kris Meeke was on target to pip Latvala for the win, but the Northern Irishman slid wide on a long right bend and ended 2.1sec adrift.
Belgian Thierry Neuville suffered after his mistake in the previous stage which removed the rear wing from his i20.
“We have no aero on the rear. I had no grip on the rear, especially at the fast start and even over the jumps. I had to be careful because there’s no feeling, although it’s OK in the slower sections,” said Neuville.
An incorrect pace note almost cost Martin Prokop dearly when the Czech driver jumped his Ford Fiesta RS off the road. “I thought I would roll,” he said.