Latvala holds off Citroen challenge

Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead Rally Finland and has so far fended off the charge of the works Citroens, which started the day with two stage wins

Latvala holds off Citroen challenge

Although overnight rain minimised Latvala's disadvantage from running first on the road, he was unable to match the pace of Sebastien Ogier and Sebastien Loeb on this morning's opening stages, as Citroen's two Frenchmen scored a stage win each.

That brought Ogier up to second place ahead of Petter Solberg - who felt his lack of pace this morning was due to missing out on these stages when he retired early in 2009. The Norwegian is now just five seconds in front of fourth-placed Loeb.

The Citroens' speed was such that it looked like Ogier and maybe even Loeb would soon be bearing down on Latvala as well, but the Finn halted their charge by winning the Surkee stage and bringing his lead up to 22s with five stages to go.

Kimi Raikkonen's chance of a points finish ended when he went off the road on today's first stage. The Citroen Junior driver was helped back onto the road by spectators and continued having lost nine minutes, which dropped him from eighth to 32nd.

Raikkonen's incident gave Juha Kankkunen (Stobart Ford) a little breathing space in seventh - but not for long as Mads Ostberg (Adapta Subaru) is rapidly catching the Finnish legend as he recovers from his Friday puncture delay.

Pos  Driver              Car        Time/Gap
 1.  Jari-Matti Latvala  Ford     1h40m28.7s
 2.  Sebastien Ogier     Citroen     + 22.5s
 3.  Petter Solberg      Citroen     + 28.6s
 4.  Sebastien Loeb      Citroen     + 33.1s
 5.  Dani Sordo          Citroen   + 1m06.8s
 6.  Matthew Wilson      Ford      + 3m51.0s
 7.  Juha Kankkunen      Ford      + 4m46.7s
 8.  Mads Ostberg        Subaru    + 5m08.4s
 9.  Juho Hanninen       Skoda     + 5m47.2s
10.  P-G Andersson       Skoda     + 6m35.5s
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