Day one: 77.31 miles; 11 stages Weather: sunny 15-25 Celsius ■ Fifth after Thursday night’s street stage in Jyvaskyla, Meeke moves to the front in Mokkipera. Rally Poland hero Ott Tanak gives chase and just seven tenths of a second separates the pair after SS4, Jukojarvi. A front suspension problem pitches the DMACK Fiesta into a spin in the following Surkee stage. The problem worsens, costing the Estonian a minute and dropping him to 10th. ■ Jari-matti Latvala is a man on a mission. Four cars ahead of Meeke, the Finn is focused on maintaining the form which has left him unbeaten at home since 2013. Unfortunately for the national hero, he runs wide at a junction, bouncing the near-side rear off a rock. It punctures and costs him 16s. He’s second and 18s behind Meeke, but promising a big push in Ouninpohja the next morning. ■ The fight for the bottom step of the provisional podium is frantic, with 30s separating Thierry Neuville in third from Tanak, who has recovered to eighth by the close of play on day one. Andreas Mikkelsen, Craig Breen, Hayden Paddon and Mads Ostberg are all in the mix after largely trouble-free Fridays. ■ World champion Sebastien Ogier spins in Surkee 2, dropping 16 minutes while he heaves his car from a ditch. “We are doing 200kph most of the time on this rally and I spun at 10kph, incredible…” he smiles at the irony. End of day one: 1 Meeke/ Nagle 1h13m22.2s; 2 Latvala/anttila +18.1s; 3 Neuville/ Gilsoul +44.3s; 4 Mikkelsen/jaeger +45.4s; 5 Breen/ Martin +53.8s; 6 Paddon/ Kennard +58.2s Day two: 77.41 miles; 7 stages
Weather: sunny, patchy rain later 14-23 Celsius ■ Meeke and Latvala open the gap on their pursuers, moving more than one minute clear of third place. Breen moves into the final podium place on the second stage of the day and remains there for the duration thereafter. ■ But there’s no chance for Breen to relax, Tanak’s just 11s down on him. The Fiesta driver is up to fifth after two Saturday stages, but back to eighth after a puncture on SS15. Never out of the top four times for the rest of the day, he ends Saturday fourth. ■ Hyundai drivers Neuville and Paddon are split by just 2.7s going into the final day. Both have suffered from a lack of grip aboard their i20 WRCS and both admit they have tried just about every setting under the sun to fix it. With that in mind, they have driven superbly today. ■ Ostberg’s just 2.4s behind Paddon’s Korean car in seventh place. Ostberg’s countryman Mikkelsen is eighth having spent much of the day running first on the road after Ogier was held up fixing a brake problem after SS14. End of day two: 1 Meeke/ Nagle 2h22m00.8s; 2 Latvala/anttila +41.0s; 3 Breen/ Martin +1m45,4s; 4 Tanak/ Molder 1m54.5s; 5 Neuville/ Gilsoul +2m00.9s; 6 Paddon/ Kennard +2m03.6s Day three: 37.03 miles; 4 stages Weather: sunny 15-20 celsius ■ With Meeke and Latvala safe up front, the focus is on the fight for third as Tanak chops Breen’s advantage in half, lifting four seconds on the first run at Lempaa. Unfortunately for Tanak, he’s off the road on the next stage. ■ There’s no respite for Breen even when Tanak’s gone. The all-hyundai fight between Neuville and Paddon is carrying them ever closer to Breen. The Irishman puts his podium beyond question with a stunning scratch on the penultimate test. ■ Paddon pulls time out of Neuville on the opener, cutting the Belgian’s advantage to 1.1s before it rises again to 2.4s on the first run at Oittila. Neuville wins the Power Stage and the place. Norwegians Ostberg and Mikkelsen are sixth and seventh respectively, with top WRC2 runner, Finland’s Esapekka Lappi, eighth at the wheel of a factory Skoda.