Friday | 31 Jul 2015

SS8: Latvala grabs lead in Finland

Jari-Matti Latvala tamed the mighty Ouninpohja stage to claim his 400th WRC stage win and move into the lead of Neste Oil Rally Finland on Friday afternoon.

Stage info: SS8

Ouninpohja 2, 34.39km
The legendary Ouninpohja, regarded as the sport’s biggest test of bravery and commitment, returns in its full length. It’s a rollercoaster from start to finish, with more than 75 jumps, and hardly a straight worthy of the name as it flows from corner to corner at crazy speeds. The roads are wide up to the famous Kakaristo hairpin after 25.60km after which it narrows. Sébastien Ogier holds the record at average of 130.75kph…..

The Finn literally flew through the daunting rollercoaster test, where cars leap into the air more than 70 times, to outpace Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Sébastien Ogier by 5.4sec and move into a 2.1sec lead in this eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

“I have never driven this stage so fast – I have respect for Ouninpohja,” said Latvala. “I almost made myself scared in a couple of places because I had so much air over the jumps.”

Ogier had a clean run but, as first in the start order, the Frenchman thought he was suffering from the lines created by the national rally competitors who tackled the stage following the WRC’s initial pass this morning.

Thierry Neuville was beginning to get to grips with the rally after a difficult start. The Belgian was fifth fastest and climbed above Hyundai i20 team-mate Dani Sordo into fifth overall.

During the liaison section before the stage Sordo repaired the exhaust pipe problem that troubled him in the previous stage.

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