Rally Finland: Toyota's WRC rookie Lappi takes lead from Latvala

World Rally Car rookie Esapekka Lappi claimed the Rally Finland lead from Toyota team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala during Friday afternoon's loop

Rally Finland: Toyota's WRC rookie Lappi takes lead from Latvala

Lappi had been inching ever closer to Latvala through the morning and though they started the afternoon with identical times on the Aanekoski-Valtra stage, that only briefly postponed Lappi's progress to the front.

Four straight stage wins thereafter took him past Latvala and he ended the day with a 4.4-second lead.

Finnish drivers fill the top three at present, with M-Sport's Teemu Suninen - in only his second World Rally Car start - establishing himself in a comfortable third.

Toyota's third driver Juho Hanninen is 6.1s behind Craig Breen's Citroen in fifth, having had to tread carefully after damaging his rear suspension on a rock just as he moved up to fourth on the Lankamaa stage.

A makeshift fix, which left the car's left-rear wheel still notably askew, was sufficient for Hanninen to continue at a competitive pace for the rest of the afternoon.

Mads Ostberg had finished the morning in third, but had a troubled afternoon grappling with handling problems that he initially thought were due to a suspension breakage, then perhaps a differential issue instead.

He remained puzzled but picked up his pace and ended the day a tenth ahead of Elfyn Evans in sixth.

With Sebastien Ogier out due to his heavy morning crash, his World Rally Championship title rival Thierry Neuville had an open goal.

But Hyundai has been off the pace all day, and all the muted Neuville had to celebrate was getting ahead of Kris Meeke for eighth when bent steering from an impact with a rock slowed the Citroen slightly and a fastest time on the short and unrepresentative mostly-asphalt Harju evening stage.

Neuville is the only Hyundai driver in the top 10 - Hayden Paddon having broken his suspension in the morning and Dani Sordo having been pushed back to 11th by Ott Tanak, who was on a charge after damaging a tyre while leading in the early stages.

Autosport Live WRC coverage resumes at 8.45am UK time on Saturday morning with SS16

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS13:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 1h11m36.4s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 4.4s
3 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 19.0s
4 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 33.0s
5 Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 39.1s
6 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 45.0s
7 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 45.1s
8 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 58.0s
9 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1m07.6s
10 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m50.2s


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