Motor Sport News - - Rally Finland -


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.

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