WRC Finland: Tanak extends lead over Lappi, Ogier currently fifth

World Rally Championship points leader Ott Tanak will take a 16.4 second advantage into the final day of Rally Finland after edging away in the Saturday afternoon loop

WRC Finland: Tanak extends lead over Lappi, Ogier currently fifth

Tanak took just one stage win after service but extended his lead over Esapekka Lappi over the remaining stages to move to within touching distance of a second consecutive victory in Finland.

Lappi is now in a comfortable second place behind Tanak following two stage wins, on the second passes of Pihlajakoski and Kakaristo.

The Citroen driver, in his best showing of the year so far, gapped Jari-Matti Latvala - who suffered a left-rear puncture in the morning - by 6.4s on SS16 and then a further 5.6s on SS18 to build a gap of 12.4s heading into Sunday.

Latvala admitted he backed off in his pursuit of Lappi as he was keen to avoid a repeat of his morning misfortune and instead concentrated on securing points for Toyota's manufacturers' title ambitions.

"I cannot afford to make any mistakes now and I need to bring the car home for the manufacturers' title," Latvala said.

His decision follow's Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Tommi Makinen criticising both Latvala and his team-mate Kris Meeke - who retired from Rally Finland with broken suspension on Saturday morning - for "forgetting what the target was for this rally".

Latvala remains third and is easily ahead of the battle for fourth place, currently headed by Andreas Mikkelsen.

The Hyundai driver held a 1.5s lead over six-time world champion Sebastien Ogier heading into Saturday's afternoon running, but lost three seconds to Ogier after having to avoid a "huge rock in the middle of the road" on SS16 (Pihlajakoski 2), which handed Ogier the place.

Ogier then extended his advantage to 2.8s on the next stage (Paijala 2) despite Mikkelsen driving "flatout", but the tables were turned on the penultimate stage of the day (Kakaristo 2) as Mikkelsen beat Ogier before gaining a 2.6s advantage by the end of the loop.

Behind them sits Hyundai's Craig Breen, who remains just 6s behind Ogier. But Breen was left frustrated with the narrow confines at the start of both the Pihlajakoski and Kakaristo runs and he lost valuable time to Ogier and Mikkelsen on those stages.

Thierry Neuville's quiet rally continues as he runs seventh, with the Hyundai driver still feeling the pain of running third on the road. He is 23.1s behind Breen, but over 40s clear of the M-Sport Ford Fiesta of Teemu Suninen.

Suninen found the afternoon stages much more to his liking after enduring what he labelled a "horrible" Saturdaymorning loop.

He is two minutes up on team-mate Gus Greensmith, who fared better in the afternoon following a "disastrous" setup choice in the opening Saturday loop.

Kalle Rovanpera remains comfortably on top in the WRC2 Pro category, with WRC2 privateer Pierre-Louis Loubet's similar Skoda Fabia R5 the nearest challenger, over a minute behind.

Results - Stage 19

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 2h08m49.4s
2 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Citroen Total WRT Citroen 16.4s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 28.8s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 50.5s
5 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Citroen Total WRT Citroen 53.1s
6 Craig Breen, P.Nagle Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 59.1s
7 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m19.3s
8 Teemu Suninen, J.Lehtinen M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 2m05.3s
9 Gus Greensmith, E.Edmondson M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 4m09.7s
10 Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen Skoda Motorsport Skoda 6m33.5s


shares
comments
Makinen criticises Meeke/Latvala for forgetting Toyota Finland WRC plan
Previous article

Makinen criticises Meeke/Latvala for forgetting Toyota Finland WRC plan

Next article

WRC Finland: Tanak closes in on victory, Hyundai boosts Neuville

WRC Finland: Tanak closes in on victory, Hyundai boosts Neuville
How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master Plus

How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master

He may only be contesting a part-time campaign in the World Rally Championship these days, but Sebastien Ogier underlined that he's lost none of his speed in the 2023 season opener. Storming to yet another victory on the Monte Carlo Rally, the eight-time world champion rewrote the history books again as Toyota served notice of its intentions with a crushing 1-2

WRC
Jan 23, 2023
How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling Plus

How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling

Audi should have been invincible in the snowy conditions that typically greeted the World Rally Championship paddock in Monte Carlo. But unexpectedly warm weather for the 1983 season opener, combined with some left-field thinking from the Lancia crew turned the tables. Forty years on, team boss Cesare Fiorio reflects on a smash and grab

WRC
Jan 21, 2023
Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion Plus

Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion

M-Sport had a disastrous 2022 with its Rally1 Ford Pumas following Sebastien Loeb’s first-time-out win on the Monte. But now things are looking up with 2019 world champion Ott Tanak leading its attack, and the Cumbrian operation has optimism that it can challenge for a first title since Sebastien Ogier's departure at the end of 2018

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown Plus

The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown

As Kalle Rovanpera begins his World Rally Championship title defence in Monte Carlo, the Finn knows he has a target on his back. But who is best placed to knock the Toyota ace off his perch?

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title Plus

Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title

Question: what could be harder than becoming the youngest-ever World Rally champion? Answer: becoming the youngest-ever two-time World Rally champion. That's quite the challenge facing Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera in 2022, particularly against rejuvenated opposition in the second year of the WRC's hybrid regulations

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing Plus

From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing

OPINION: New Hyundai WRC team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits he’s got a lot to learn as he leads the marque's efforts to dethrone Toyota. But could his Formula 1 experience and evident strengths mean he turns out to be an inspired choice?

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed Plus

The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed

Toyota was unstoppable in the 2021 World Rally Championship, with an excellent 75% strike rate from 12 rallies. But in a scary proposition for its rivals, the Japanese marque had built a car for the final year of the previous regulations set which it believes was much faster and could feasibly have crushed the opposition completely. Here the story of its mothballed world-beater

WRC
Jan 1, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022