Friday | 03 Jul 2015

SS8: Latvala win secures third

Jari-Matti Latvala claimed a maiden stage victory at 72nd LOTOS Rally Poland to climb into third and give Volkswagen Motorsport a grip on all three podium places.

Stage info: SS8

Goldap 2, 14.75km
Frequent surface changes make Goldap a tough challenge as the road switches from gravel to asphalt and vice-versa on three occasions. The width also varies - at the start and middle it is narrow, but wide elsewhere. Thick gravel means the road will clean after the first cars.

The Finn was fastest in his Polo R through Friday’s penultimate Goldap stage by 0.8sec from a resurgent Mads Østberg, relegating former leader Ott Tänak to fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS.

As temperatures neared 30˚C, Latvala had worn tyres after including three soft covers in his choice but the Finn was encouraged by their performance.

“The tyres weren’t in such good shape but it’s amazing how much you can push on them even though there’s not much tread left,” he said.

Team-mate Sébastien Ogier stretched his lead over Andreas Mikkelsen to 1.9sec after edging the Norwegian by 0.2sec, the pair third and fourth in the stage. Latvala is a further 6.2sec behind.

Brake and tyre issues continued to haunt Tänak who dropped 12.3sec and trailed Latvala by 5.2sec.

Kris Meeke lost more time after sliding Citroën’s DS 3 into a field and Elfyn Evans dropped off the leaderboard after losing more time with badly worn rubber on his Fiesta RS.

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