WRC Rally Finland: Jari-Matti Latvala overhauls Sebastien Ogier

Jari-Matti Latvala fought back to establish a small lead over his Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier by the end of Friday afternoon at Rally Finland

WRC Rally Finland: Jari-Matti Latvala overhauls Sebastien Ogier

Latvala began to take time out of Ogier on the second run through the Pihlajakoski stage and that trend continued throughout the loop.

The Finn was 3.3 seconds adrift after the second running of Paijala but was unstoppable on the Ouninpohja repeat.

Through the monstrous stage Latvala was a 5.4s faster than Ogier, taking his 400th world rally stage win in the process, to snatch the overall lead by 2.1s.

Latvala increased his lead by another second over the short Himos stage before Ogier clawed back 0.5s on Friday's superspecial stage.

Kris Meeke saw his challenge for the lead waver in the closing stages of the day as he fell back into the clutches of team-mate Mads Ostberg.

Citroen driver Meeke, who was worried about driveshaft issues in the early afternoon stages, topped Paijala by three seconds but lost significant time later in the day when he picked up a 10-second penalty for turning up to the Himos checkpoint late.

This left Meeke 24s off leader Latvala and just 10.1s ahead of Ostberg in fourth.

Hyundai duo Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville, who had collided with (and felled) a tree on the shakedown on Thursday, finished the day well off the pace in fifth and sixth.

The pair have been locked in an intra-team battle throughout the afternoon with Neuville finishing on top by 2.7s after Sordo suffered a recurring exhaust issue.

Returnee Juho Hanninen is still M-Sport's leading contender in sixth, comfortably ahead of Martin Prokop in seventh.

Fellow M-Sport drivers Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak both had a day to forget, though the Estonian has at least hung on to a top-10 place. Without a full midday service the duo were forced to limp their way through the afternoon stages.

Evans, who has suspension damage, and Tanak, who has a broken damper, were at least glad they were able to make it to the end of the day without retiring and picking up Rally2 penalties.

The same however couldn't be said for Robert Kubica and Hayden Paddon.

Kubica retired from sixth at the midday tyre zone with an alternator problem, while Paddon, who was running fifth, was involved in a heavy crash near the end of stage six. Both he and co-driver John Kennard were unscathed but were forced to retire from the whole event.

WRC2 leader Esapekka Lappi was able to capitalise on others' mistakes to finish Friday in the top 10.

The Finn is 11.7s clear of Tanak in ninth in the overall standings and is over a minute clear of his WRC2 rivals after a commanding day at his home rally.

AUTOSPORT Live's Rally Finland coverage resumes from 9am UK time on Saturday morning

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Rally Finland: Sebastien Ogier holds narrow lead on first morning

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WRC Rally Finland: Jari-Matti Latvala fending off Sebastien Ogier

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