WRC Finland July29-31 talk/results spoiler**
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This is a discussion on WRC Finland July29-31 talk/results spoiler** within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Next Round: Neste Rally of Finland 29-31 July Neste Oil Rally Finland is one of the most popular events on ...

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    Cool WRC Finland July29-31 talk/results spoiler**

    Next Round: Neste Rally of Finland 29-31 July



    Neste Oil Rally Finland is one of the most popular events on the WRC calendar. It’s also regarded by many people as 'the spiritual home of rally'. You only have to look at a WRC start list to see why...

    The rally is a fast gravel affair, with high-speed runs along tree-lined tracks peppered with fast, flying ‘yumps’ that demand absolute, balls-out commitment.

    Rally Finland is based in the bustling student town of Jyvaskyla, located in the lake district area in the centre of the country. To win here, you need a savvy combination of tactical nous, smooth and efficient technique and flat-out commitment to cope with the high speeds, fast kinks and mammoth jumps that litter the smooth, loose surface stages.

    Over the years, the event has been dominated by the Scandinavians. They're used to driving on roads like these since they were knee-high to a grasshopper. That local experience counts.

    New for 2010
    Neste Oil Rally Finland will commemorate its 60th anniversary in 2010 with a brand new city-based Super Special stage in Jyvaskyla and a revised itinerary that ends on Saturday night, rather than the more usual Sunday.

    Official Website: nesteoilrallyfinland.fi


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    Kankkunen eyeing a top 10 in Finland



    Rally legend Juha Kankkunen is aiming for a top 10 finish when he makes a one-off comeback on Neste Oil Rally Finland this week.

    The 51-year-old Finn made his World Rally Championship debut on his home round of the series in 1979. He went on to win the event three times, contesting it for the last time with Hyundai in 2002.

    This week, to help mark the event’s sixtieth jubilee, Kankkunen will get behind the wheel of a Stobart M-Sport Ford team Ford Focus RS WRC alongside long-time co-driver Juha Repo.

    “It is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a World Rally Car, especially after knowing they'll disappear from the series after this season,” said Kankkunen. “I haven't spent much time in the latest generation cars and I know there have been a lot of changes, but I don’t foresee any undue surprises.

    “My target is a place in the top 10 and to battle with Kimi Räikkönen. Juha [Repo] last competed in this rally in 2003 where he finished eleventh so he also eager to finish inside the top ten,” he added.

    The Stobart team will run a total of four cars in Finland. Matthew Wilson and Henning Solberg will drive the team’s two points-nominated cars, while the Finnish crew of Mattias Therman and co-driver Janne Perälä return to drive a fourth Ford Focus RS WRC.

    Click: wrc.com/news/Kankkunen+eyeing+a+top+10+in+Finland

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    Finn Mikko Hirvonen got his quest for a second victory on his home rally off to a perfect start earlier today by setting the fastest time at the pre-event shakedown for Neste Oil Rally Finland.

    The four hour test - a prelude to this weekend's rally - took place on a 4.46km gravel road in Muurame, 10km from the Jyvasykla Servce Park. The stage is a new choice for Shakedown and replaces Laajavuori, which will be used as part of this year’s competitive route. Conditions were dry, sunny and humid throughout the test, with the temperature peaking at a sweltering 34 degrees Celsius.

    "The car feels great" said Mikko after completing his third run in a session-winning time of 2m 02.2s. "At our pre-event test we tried so many things, but I didn’t have enough time to get confident with the set-up we’re going to use. Now I feel ready.”

    “The shakedown road is definitely better than the one we’ve used for the last four years. It’s really nice, fast and there are big jumps - so a really good stage. Can I win again? Well, let’s just say I think we have a chance to fight for it,” added the Ford Focus RS WRC driver.

    Citroen C4 WRC driver Sebastien Loeb and Hirvonen’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala were joint closest to the wining time, both stopping the clock just one-tenth shy.

    Sebastien Ogier and Dani Sordo were fourth and fifth fastest respectively.

    After his podium finish on the most recent rally in Bulgaria, Petter Solberg ended the session with the sixth-fastest time - eight-tenths off Hirvonen’s - and brimming with confidence. “I didn’t change anything and we were fastest on the early runs, I’m really happy, no problems at all,” he said. “We did a proper test, we did absolutely the right things and I feel I’m back fighting with the best in the world. I feel this more since Bulgaria. We will be on the top on every rally from here!”

    Nest Oil Rally Finland gets underway on Thursday (29 July) at 1800hrs when crews leave the Service Park bound for the opening Laajavuori stage. Follow this link to find out how to follow the rally LIVE and FREE here on wrc.com.

    Here are the Shakedown times of the leading WRC drivers:

    1. HIRVONEN. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 2:02.2

    =2. LATVALA. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 2:02.3

    =2. LOEB. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:02.3

    4. OGIER. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:02.4

    5. SORDO. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:02.6

    6. P. SOLBERG. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:03.0

    7. WILSON. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:04.0

    8. H. SOLBERG. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:04.6

    =9. OSTBERG. Subaru Impreza WRC06. 2:05.2

    =9. RAIKKONEN. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:05.2

    10. Al QASSIMI. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:06.6

    11. KANKKUNEN. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:08.4

    Click: wrc.com/finland shakedown

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    Petter Solberg moved into an early lead of the 2010 Neste Oil Rally Finland after setting the fastest time on Thursday evening’s opening stage.

    The Citroen C4 WRC driver completed the short Laajavuori sprint stage in 2min 33.2sec, exactly one second quicker than his nearest rival, Ford team-leader Mikko Hirvonen.

    At the finish control, Solberg claimed to have taken a gentle approach to the stage. “I was a bit chicken in there,” he said. “The time felt good but the proper stuff starts tomorrow so I was a bit careful.”

    Hirvonen, who won Rally Finland last year, also claimed to have more speed in reserve. “It was quite a steady start, and I made a few small mistakes, but I think we’re in the game now. We’ll see for sure tomorrow morning,” said the Finn.

    Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala will start Friday’s competition tied in third place after both completing in 2min 34.8sec - 1.6sec slower than Solberg. Sebastien Ogier rounded off the top five times, on his first competitive outing driving for the Citroen Total team.

    Click: wrc.com/finland News SS1/



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    Mikko Hirvonen moved into the lead of Rally Finland on Friday’s opening stage after completing the 12.75km Urria 2.1sec quicker than anyone else.

    The Finn, who won Neste Oil Finland in 2009, jumped ahead of overnight leader Petter Solberg who slipped to third overall. Hirvonen’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala set the second-quickest time and moved into second overall, putting the two BP Ford Abu Dhabi team cars in the top two positions.

    Defending world champion Sebastien Loeb was third fastest, with Petter Solberg fourth and Sebastien Ogier rounding off the top five times.

    After overnight rain, which left the stage damp in places, conditions were bright and sunny for Friday’s opener, with a temperature of 22 degrees at the finish control.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS2



    -----------------------------

    Mikko Hirvonen extended his lead in Finland to 4.9sec after setting the fastest time through the 22km Jukojarvi.

    Hirvonen’s second consecutive stage win came despite an incident 4.6km from the start line when his car struck a roadside post which broke off and struck the windscreen.

    But while his closest rival on Friday’s opener had been his Ford team-mate, this time Citroen C4 drivers Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb were second and third quickest.

    Both Solberg and Loeb edged past Latvala in the overall standings, leaving Latvala fourth, 0.8sec adrift.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS3



    --------------------------

    Rally leader Mikko Hirvonen made a dramatic exit from Friday’s competition in Finland after suffering a high speed multiple roll on SS4.

    The Finn rolled his Ford Focus RS WRC five times on a right-hand bend 9km from the start line. It’s a corner Mikko has described previously as his favorite in the whole championship. Both Mikko and his-co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen escaped injury, but their car is reported to be very badly damaged.

    Hirvonen’s retirement promoted Petter Solberg into the rally lead, while Jari-Matti Latvala moved up to second and Dani Sordo third.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS4



    --------------------------

    Citroen driver Dani Sordo was the fastest driver through the repeated Jukojarvi test while Petter Solberg completed Friday morning’s loop with a 1.3 second overall lead of Neste Oil Rally Finland.

    Sordo shaved more than 10 seconds off his earlier time through Jukojarvi (SS3), underlining the cleaning effect on the damp gravel road. The Spaniard remained third place in the overall standings, 3.8sec behind Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala, who was second quickest through SS5.

    Sebastien Loeb dropped behind his team-mate Sebastien Ogier into fifth because of handling problems with his C4 WRC. Loeb lost his car’s front splitter 19km into SS4 and reported that the car was lifting too much over crests and jumps as a result.

    Subaru privateer Mads Ostberg lost more than three minutes after stopping to change a puncture.

    wrc.con/News SS5



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    Midday Wrap

    Petter Solberg holds a slender lead on Neste Oil Rally Finland after the opening loop of stages but the big talking point so far has been the accident that eliminated local hero Mikko Hirvonen from the high-speed gravel event.

    Hirvonen, driving a factory Ford Focus RS WRC, had been setting a rapid pace and was leading by 4.9s after three special stages only to crash out on a right-hander nine kilometres into stage four, the 12.75-kilometre Urria test.

    The Focus rolled a number of times and Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen were taken to hospital for checks. Ironically, Hirvonen said before the start that the stage was his favourite in the world championship.

    His misfortune elevated Solberg into first place in his privately-run Citroen C4 WRC, 1.3 seconds ahead of Hirvonen’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala who, like Solberg, has never won the Jyvaskyla-based event. “We were a bit shocked to see Mikko out,” said Solberg. “It´s a long rally and I try to be consistent and stay where I am.”

    Dani Sordo has enjoyed an impressive morning on his first outing with the Citroen Junior Team. The Spaniard was fastest through stage five, Jukojarvi, and is 5.1s off the lead.

    Sebastien Ogier, the man who replaced Sordo in the main Citroen squad, is fourth after recording the quickest time on stage four. However, team-mate and world champion Sebastien Loeb has endured a tough morning.

    The front splitter of his C4 became detached 19 kilometres into stage three and the French ace reported his car lacked handling precision and was lifting over the jumps.

    Loeb also lost time running first on the road although overnight thunderstorms had compacted some of the loose surface.

    Henning Solberg is sixth after surviving a half-spin on stage three where Hirvonen was also in trouble. Despite going fastest, Hirvonen took out a post, which landed on his windscreen and necessitated a replacement at the refuel prior to stage four, where he retired.

    Matthew Wilson is seventh after Mads Ostberg dropped time with a puncture on stage five and fell down the order. Ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen is eighth in his Citroen C4 with Focus pilot Khalid ninth.

    Four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen, making his return to the WRC on the 60th anniversary of Rally Finland completes the top 10 in his Focus prior to service in Jyvaskyla.

    Emerging Finn Jari Ketomaa tops the Super 2000 World Rally Championship in his Ford Fiesta with wildcard Juho Hanninen, at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia, close behind.

    Ketomaa has never been headed in the class. Finn Juha Salo is the early leader in the Production Car World Rally Championship having overtaken Pirelli Star Driver Ott Tanak, in a similar Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X on stage three. Patrik Flodin is third in a Subaru Impreza.

    The afternoon’s action resumes at 1358hrs local time with the first of six stages before crews return to Jyvaskyla for the day’s final service.

    Click: wrc.com/Midday Wrap


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    Jari-Matti Latvala bagged his first stage win of the rally on SS6 and narrowed the gap on overall leader Petter Solberg to just one-tenth of a second.



    Latvala, carrying the hopes of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi squad following his team-mate’s earlier retirement, was 1.2sec quicker than Solberg through the 24km Lankamaa. At the stage end, Solberg said he wasn’t worried by Latvala’s pace, but was keeping a close eye on his split times.

    Sebastien Loeb dropped another place in the standings to 6th overall. The Frenchman said he had driven well but was being disadvantaged by running as first car though the stage and cleaning the surface of loose gravel.

    Khalid Al Qassimi retired from the day after rolling his Ford Focus RS WRC at the 23.2km mark. Khalid retired at exactly the same spot where Petter Solberg rolled his Ford Focus WRC in 2000.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS6





    ------------------------




    ------------------------

    Jari-Matti Latvala moved into a slender lead of Neste Oil Rally Finland on SS7, and he extended his advantage to 7.9sec on SS8.



    A stage win for the Ford Focus RS driver on a showery SS7 was enough to edge him ahead of Petter Solberg by 2.7sec, but in drier conditions on SS8 he pulled another five seconds clear.

    Sebastien Ogier remains third, 12.8sec adrift of Solberg, while Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo are tied in fourth, 11.1sec further back.

    Stobart M-Sport Ford team driver Henning Solberg retired after rolling his Focus 1.5km from the start line. The Norwegian had been sixth overall.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS8



    ------------------------


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    SS9



    ---------------------------

    Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead Neste Oil Rally Finland after SS10 and has extended his advantage over second placed Petter Solberg to exactly 10 seconds.

    Latvala set the fastest time through the short SS9 but was beaten on SS10 by the men ahead of him in the start order - Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier. Loeb, running first in the start order was quickest, completing the 15km stage at an average speed of 133km/h - a new Rally Finland record.

    If Latvala holds the lead tonight he will be first in Saturday’s road order - a position which is likely to cost him time as he sweeps the road of loose gravel for the benefit of those behind.

    In the circumstances, Petter Solberg was delighted to remain second but in-touch with the lead. “It was always my plan to lose time in this stage,” he said at the finish.

    Sebastien Ogier holds third place, 11.1sec behind Solberg, while Loeb is 10.9sec further back in fourth.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS10





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    Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson has backed Mikko Hirvonen to hit back from the huge accident he suffered on Rally Finland’s fourth stage earlier today.



    Hirvonen was leading his home rally by 4.9s when he rolled five times following a heavy landing after a crest. Neither Hirvonen nor co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen was injured in the crash but their Ford Focus RS WRC suffered extensive damage.

    Wilson said: “It was the biggest accident he’s ever had but he’ll come back from it. It was a very violent accident, a typical Finland accident and I’m just pleased they’re both okay.

    “Performance wise it was going really well. He was doing better than he was last year and I’m just so pleased to see him back on the pace.”

    Hirvonen said he was travelling at 140kph when he crashed: “It landed nicely in the middle of the road but it was quite a heavy landing. It happened so fast, there was nothing I could do. We went straight into a bank and rolled straight in the road, up the hill, for a long time. The speed wasn’t too much but at that speed I knew when it landed we’d be lucky to stay on four wheels. The dream is over and it’s just disappointing.”

    He added: “We were at least at a good speed and know we’re heading in the right direction. That’s good. A crash like that is not going to distract me or scare me. It’s done and we’ll go to the next rallies and try to go as fast as we did here. There are still some rallies to go and we have to try and do as well as we can on those rallies. We were leading here and I want to get up there as soon as I can. We’ll see about [winning in] Germany but for sure we’ll try.”

    Hirvonen’s accident means he has failed to score on two rounds of this year’s WRC and Wilson conceded that his slim title chances have been further dented: “It’s going to be very difficult now,” Wilson said.

    Click: wrc.com/News/Malcolm Wilson/Hirvonen


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    ---------------------------------------

    End of Day

    SS11





    Friday Wrap:



    Jari-Matti Latvala will start the final day of Neste Oil Rally Finland with a 9.1-second lead over Petter Solberg following a dramatic start to the event, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

    Finn Latvala has never won his home rally before in seven previous attempts and will have to withstand huge pressure from Solberg - who has also yet to win the high-speed event - over the final eight all-gravel stages on Saturday, when he will also have to clear the road of the loose surface gravel by running at the head of the field.

    “Running third on the road gave me a bit of an advantage today,” said Latvala. “Maybe I took it too carefully at times but we’ll try to keep up this pace tomorrow.”

    Latvala moved into the lead after going fastest through the first Sirkkamaki stage on Friday afternoon and has continued to edge clear in his works Ford Focus. But while Latvala celebrated a successful first day in Finland, his team-mate and countryman Mikko Hirvonen was left to reflect on what might have been after crashing out of first place in spectacular fashion on stage four.

    “The dream is over and it’s just disappointing but at least we were on the pace before it happened,” said Hirvonen, whose retirement elevated Solberg into the rally lead before Latvala moved ahead three stages later. “I am very comfortable, confident and relaxed,” said the Citroen privateer. “I am not taking any big risks.”

    Dani Sordo completed the opening loop of stages in third place but slipped to fifth as fellow Citroen drivers Sebastien Ogier (third) and Sebastien Loeb (fourth) edged ahead, despite spending much of the day saddled by cleaning the road.

    World championship leader Loeb’s fastest time through stage 10 was achieved at an average speed of 133kph, which is believed to be a Rally Finland record.

    Matthew Wilson is sixth overnight in his Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus. The young Briton was caught up in heavy rain close to the end of stage seven and also reported a minor handling glitch in the afternoon.

    Henning Solberg had climbed to fifth when he slid into a ditch on a left-hander on stage eight and rolled twice, coming to a rest upside down against a tree.

    Four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen is up to seventh on his one-off return to the WRC. The 51-year-old is closely followed by ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen, whom he vowed to try to beat before the start.

    Mads Ostberg will start day two in touching distance of the top 10 as he continues to claw back time following his moment on stage five when a heavy landing on a rock broke his Subaru Impreza’s front-right wheel.

    Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al-Qassimi had been in the top 10 when he rolled into retirement on stage six. He was one of four drivers to crash on the Lankamaa test, which prompted organisers to award notional times to a number of competitors when the stage had to be halted.

    Rally Finland concludes with eight further stages on Saturday. Action gets underway at 0733hrs local time with the first car due to reach the finish in Jyvaskyla at 1945hrs. Occasional rain showers are being forecast.

    Click: wrc.com/News/Friday Wrap


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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 07-30-2010 at 01:35 PM.
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    Day 2

    Early rain in Jyvaskyla played into the hands of rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala, who found more grip on Saturday’s opening gravel stage than he had expected running first on the road.

    The Ford Focus RS WRC driver extended his lead over Petter Solberg from 9.1sec to 12.2sec, helped in part by a bad start from the Norwegian who said he didn’t wake up until the 6km point.

    Sebastien Ogier was the stage winner and took a big bite out of the gap to Petter. Heading to SS13, the gap between them was down to 8.6sec.

    Citroen Junior Team driver Kimi Raikkonen lost around nine minutes when he went off the road 2km from the start. The Finn got his C4 WRC stuck on a bank and had to wait for spectators to push it back onto the road.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS12



    -----------------------------

    Citroen C4 WRC driver Sebastien Ogier moved ahead of Petter Solberg into second place on the 29km Vaarinmaja stage, slotting in 15.2sec behind rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala.



    Ogier’s team-mate Sebastien Loeb was also on a charge - setting the fastest time and moving closer to a podium finish. Heading to the refuel before SS14, the Frenchman was just 8.2sec behind the newly relegated Solberg.

    Petter was fifth fastest and said a lack of familiarity with the stages - a result of his retirement in Finland last year - had held him back.

    Kimi Raikkonen dropped another three minutes to the leaders on SS13. The Finn’s car lost its front bumper and spoiler in his earlier off and also collected two damaged tyres. With only one spare, the Finn completed SS13 with just three fully inflated tyres.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS13




    -----------------------------

    Jari-Matti Latvala responded to the rapid pace of the Citroens on SS13 by flooring his Ford Focus RS WRC though SS14 and taking a remarkable stage win.



    On one of the fastest stages of the rally, peppered with blind crests and sweeping corners, the Finn was 7.3sec quicker than anybody else. The time edged him further ahead at the top of the leaderboard and sent a clear signal to the Citroen C4 WRC driver behind him - Sebastien Ogier - who now lies 22.5sec adrift.

    Latvala said: “I’m happy with how things have gone so far today. The first stage went well but on the second I lost out to the factory Citroens and I didn’t know why. Maybe it was the drier road, I don’t know, but I was a bit angry. When I saw the road [on SS14] was a bit damp I really pushed hard and took some risks. It went well, but I’m not able to relax yet.”

    With five stages to go, however, Sebastien Ogier’s co-driver Julien Ingrassia suggested that the fight for the lead was already over. “We did what we could on the first passes - that was when we had the road position advantage - now we have to remember that we have to finish. We will continue to push him, of course, but we will not take any risks. We have to be here at the end.”

    Ogier’s team-mate Sebastien Loeb was third quickest through the stage and edged closer to Petter Solberg in the overall standings. Heading back to Jyvaskyla for the 30-minute service before SS15, Loeb trailed Solberg by just 4.5sec.

    “Like yesterday I lost time on the stages I haven’t done before. And okay, I lost a little bit too much on one of them,” said Solberg. “Maybe road cleaning was a factor, I don’t know, but the car worked well. This afternoon should be better. Now I have to try to keep my place, it will be a very tough five stages, but there are many kilometres to go. I will try hard. A podium is the main thing now.”

    Citroen Junior team driver Dani Sordo rounds off the top five places, 33.7seconds behind Loeb.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS14




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    Fresh from the 30-minute service break, Sebastien Ogier resumed his fight for the lead on SS15, setting another rapid stage time and trimming Jari-Matti Latvala’s advantage to 16.1sec.



    The 21km Leustu was the first of just two ‘new’ stages remaining this afternoon, and Ogier took the opportunity to make the most of his road position and a racing line swept clean by Latvala and Solberg.

    At the finish control, Latvala said the time loss was ‘not too bad’ considering the amount of largely dry, slippery gravel he had encountered.

    Sebastien Loeb was the stage winner and narrowed the gap to Petter Solberg to 1.3sec. Solberg, however, was feeling more confident of keeping the world champion at bay having fitted a new set of dampers in service. “The car’s completely different, I can push again,” said Petter.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS15



    -------------------------------

    After narrowing the gap to Petter Solberg on each of Saturday’s stages so far, Sebastien Loeb finally moved ahead on SS16, securing third place by 6.4sec from the Norwegian.



    Loeb’s fastest time through the 20km Himos slotted him 9.1sec behind his team-mate Sebastien Ogier and set-up a fascinating inter-team battle on the three stages which remain - despite Loeb’s efforts to downplay the situation.

    “Okay, now we are third which is not bad, but Ogier is pushing very hard. Of course I’ll try to push, but I could only take half a second from him here, so maybe if I had three weeks I could catch him...” said the world champion.

    Rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala lost another handful of seconds to Sebastien Ogier on SS16 despite a bolder approach at the wheel. “The factory Citroens are coming fast so I pushed hard. I had take a few more risks in there,” he said.

    In fourth place, 41sec ahead of Dani Sordo, Petter Solberg said he was pushing as hard as possible but was unable to find the extra bit of speed necessary to take the fight to the factory cars ahead of him.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS16



    -------------------------------

    Jari-Matti Latvala is two stages away from winning Neste Oil Rally Finland for the first time.
    But with the factory Ford driver’s advantage standing at 10.6 seconds after SS17, the World Rally Championship event is set for a thrilling climax in Jyvaskyla this evening with Sebastien Ogier looking menacing for Citroen.

    Latvala started Saturday’s first stage leading Petter Solberg by 9.1s, mindful of the challenge he would face by running first on the road through the high speed gravel tests.

    Although overnight rain helped to compact the road surface on some stages, others were unaffected by the deluge and stayed largely dry, which hampered Latvala and Solberg.

    “Ogier is pushing hard so we will see what happens,” said Latvala. “We will not be comfortable until we are over the finish line and there is still a long way to go.”

    Solberg suffered more than Latvala on the slippery surface and has slipped from second to fourth as the crews head back to service in Jyvaskyla following the second and final run through the Surkee stage.

    The Norwegian was unhappy with the handling of his privately-run C4 following before a damper change at midmorning service and also said his lack of knowledge of Saturday’s stages, some of which he hasn’t tackled competitively before, was holding him back.

    Ogier, who holds second overall in his works C4, said he had resisted the temptation to go on full attack in order to respect his team’s wishes to achieve a strong finish. But his obvious talents and more advantageous road position have handed him a shot at victory.

    Citroen team leader and world champion Sebastien Loeb demoted Solberg into fourth with the fastest time through the first Himos stage (SS16) but is 23.6s off the lead and comfortably clear of Citroen Junior Team driver Dani Sordo, who is fifth overall.

    Matthew Wilson had a replacement steering rack fitted to his Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus at final service on Friday but still reported a slight steering issue through Saturday morning’s stages. He is sixth and just over 30 seconds ahead of Mads Ostberg, who has battled back to seventh after stopping to change a broken wheel on Friday morning.

    Four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen is eighth after reporting a trouble-free run in his Focus. The 51-year-old, who has come out of retirement to contest Rally Finland for the final time this season, made one blemish when he jumped a stage start on Friday and was handed a 10-second penalty for his trouble.

    Super 2000 World Rally Championship leader Juho Hanninen is ninth overall with P-G Andersson second in the category in 10th after Matti Rantanen retired when he hit a rock and tore a wheel off his Skoda Fabia this morning.

    After stage 17, Pirelli Star Driver Ott Tanak is comfortably ahead in the Production Car World Rally Championship classification in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

    Kimi Raikkonen was in contention for a top 10 finish only to go off into a ditch on a right-hander on Saturday’s first stage. He was able to regain the road thanks to the intervention of several spectators but lost almost 10 minutes in the process.

    Following service in Jyvaskyla, crews will tackle two more stages before the finish later this evening. The top six drivers will run in reverse order over the final two tests.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS17




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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 07-31-2010 at 05:01 AM.
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  15. #14

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    Rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala will take an 11 second advantage into the final stage in Finland after clearing the penultimate test without incident.

    The Finn set the fastest time through the repeated 21km Leustu stage, with Sebastien Ogier his closest rival and Petter Solberg rounding off the top three times.

    The top five cars tackled the test in reverse start order - as they will on the final stage - which relieved Latvala of his road sweeping position and meant he could monitor the times of his rivals using split times.

    The closest battle in the top five remains the fight for third between Sebastien Loeb and the chasing Petter Solberg. Loeb will take a slender 4.2sec advantage into the decisive 20km Himos stage.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS18



    -------------------------------

    Finn Jari-Matti Latvala sealed an historic victory on Neste Oil Rally Finland today, becoming the youngest driver to win the event since it joined the World Rally Championship in 1973.



    Latvala, 25, took the lead on SS6 in his BP Ford Abu Dhabi team Focus RS WRC and held it ever since, successfully fending off a full-on attack today from Citroen Total team driver Sebastien Ogier.

    Ogier finished second in his C4 World Rally Car, 10.1sec adrift of Latvala, while his Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb was third, 15.9sec further back, after a tense final day battle with Petter Solberg which was decided by only 4.7sec.

    Today's win was the fourth at World Championship level for Latvala, who is co-driven by Miikka Anttila. He scored his first on the 2008 Rally Sweden, when he became the youngest winner of a WRC rally. His most recent victory came just 12 weeks ago on the Rally of New Zealand.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS19 Latvala Wins





    Jari-Matti Latvala has won Neste Oil Rally Finland, round eight of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship. Co-driven by Miikka Anttila, Latvala took the lead on stage seven and drove without error to land his second win of the season.

    The Finn, who breaks Markku Alen’s record as the youngest winner of the high-speed gravel event, withstood late pressure from factory Citroen pilot Sebastien Ogier to secure an emotional home victory.

    “It’s a dream and I can’t even imagine it yet,” said the works Ford Focus pilot. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a small boy. The fans in Finland are fantastic and I’ve won in front of my home spectators. When we did the second last stage it started to go in the right direction and we were a little on the safe side. It’s amazing, a big relief and a fantastic rally. Our team has done really hard work and this victory is for the team.”

    Click Read More: wrc.com/News Finland

    .

    -----------------------------

    WRC Championship Standings: wrc.com/Standings

    -----------------------------

    Next Round WRC Germany Aug 19-22


    The second asphalt rally of the 2010 season, Rally Deutschland is held in Germany’s wine-producing Mosel region, near to the historic city of Trier.

    This may be a pure asphalt event, but it has one of the widest variety of sealed surfaces on the calendar. As such, it's a tricky rally that demands the very best from drivers.

    The stage conditions are different on each day. Friday is made up of narrow and dirty vineyard access roads that feature a mix of straights and hairpins, making handbrake turn skills essential. Saturday’s stages are held on the rough concrete roads of the Baumholder military ranges, with the ever present hazard of huge concrete blocks designed to stop tanks straying from the road.

    The final day features smooth, fast bitumen-coated roads and the ‘Circus Maximus’ Superspecial that runs right through the heart of Trier’s old city. All-in-all, it’s a challenging mix.

    Official Website: rallye deutschland


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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 08-17-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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    Jari-Matti congratulations on your first win at Rally Finland. How does it feel to stand on the top step of the podium at your home event?

    “It feels really amazing. It’s unbelievable. So good, and such a relief, and with all these people you saw at the podium and in the stages, they come to support you so you can win it. There are no words to describe it, basically. I’m so happy to hear I am the youngest too. Sébastien Loeb has beaten all the records; at least something is left for me!”

    How does it compare with the other wins you have achieved?

    “Okay, one of the greatest moments for a driver is to win the first world rally. I think every driver can say that. But winning Rally Finland is special as well. It’s hard to compare this to New Zealand, that was a long rally, but maybe this goes further ahead of New Zealand, this is the second best win in my career so far.”

    After Mikko’s retirement did you feel the pressure to go out and push for the win? Did you believe on Friday you could win?

    “Well, I started with the speed okay and then I had a big, big jump in Urria. Everybody knows that jump but still I was jumping too far - I couldn’t get myself relaxed and I hurt my back. Mikko was flying, but when he retired I was sorry after he started so well. I didn’t want to think about the situation too much. I spoke to Miikka in the car and then I just tried to do my job. I knew there was now only one car in the team and I just had to concentrate on my job and enjoy it - like Malcolm said, that was the key thing. After that, I got my back sorted at service and got the relaxed feeling and then the rally went in a better direction. But at that stage I couldn’t imagine we could win the rally. But I got a good feeling after that first proper service.

    How many risks were you taking today?

    “Honestly, I was a little bit lucky with the rain. It helped a lot in the first stage, then I concentrated in the third stage after I lost time in the second stage. I made a big attack in the new four kilometres of the third stage and that helped me a lot. Sébastien was pushing very hard, both of them, they make my position very uncomfortable. But then towards the afternoon, I was able to take time, but then they catch me, then I made more time, they take it back - it was cat and mouse. Luckily I was able to keep myself together. I honestly have big respect, with the experience of Finland they have, for Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver that they were able to push so hard.”

    You don’t normally drink, but will you have some champagne this evening?

    “I might have a little taste, but I’m not going to drink so much. Tomorrow is a free day, but on Monday I test an Escort BDA for a rally next weekend. The recce for the event starts on Wednesday, but I need to be ready and focused on the new suspension on that car. I need to get that sorted before the rally!”

    This is the fourth victory of your WRC career, which puts you one ahead of your hero Henri Toivonen. How does that make you feel?

    “It’s something special. Henri won the RAC Rally twice and the Monte Carlo once. He was an extremely quick driver but also someone who made a few mistakes in his career. The times have changed a lot since the 1980’s, though. I’m happy to say that I have been able to progress, but still it feels good to beat his record.”

    At what point did you think you might be able to win this rally?

    “Well the second last stage was the moment when I really noticed Ogier was pushing hard. I was a bit nervous on the start line but when I saw the first splits I started to be quite okay and after the stage, when I saw I had an 11 second lead for the last stage I thought now we can handle it. But I didn’t think about winning the rally when I came here. My target was the podium. Things started to go well yesterday [Friday] evening and at that point I thought we had a possibility for the victory, but I knew everything had to be perfect.”

    Click: wrc.com/news/jari-matti-latvala-Q&A

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