WRC'14 Neste Oil Rally Finland - July31-Aug3 talk/results spoiler**
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    Cool WRC'14 Neste Oil Rally Finland - July31-Aug3 talk/results spoiler**

    Rnd8 - Neste Oil Rally Finland July31-Aug3



    History

    Dates back to 1951 when it was launched as a means of deciding the Finnish entries for Rallye Monte-Carlo.
    It took on the name 1000 Lakes Rally and was included in the calendar for the WRC in its first year in 1973.
    It has been dominated by Finnish drivers who have won 52 of the 63 editions. Top of the roll of honour are Hannu Mikkola and Marcus Grönholm with seven wins.

    What’s new for 2014

    Event gains an extra day with a Sunday finish reintroduced.
    Only four of 2013 stages remain.
    Shorter version of famous Ouninpohja test to be used on Friday.
    Jyväskylä city centre mixed surface Harju test back on itinerary for the first time in 15 years.

    Official Website: nesteoilrallyfinland.fi/

    Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio


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    Shakedown

    Finn Jari-Matti Latvala delighted his home fans by posting fastest time at this morning’s (Thursday) shakedown stage for Neste Oil Rally Finland.

    The Volkswagen Motorsport driver was quickest by 0.6sec from Mads Østberg’s Citroen DS3 over the 4.19km Laajavuori test around the ski jump on the edge of host city Jyväskylä.

    Latvala, rally winner in 2010, heads the home challenge bidding to end a run of three consecutive victories by French drivers on an event traditionally dominated by Finns.

    “After the rain earlier this week the ground was soft,” said Latvala. “The grip was good but the soft surface asked for a lot of power. Generally the car felt really good to drive over the mountain, so no changes. Two runs and a happy feeling before the start.

    “I have really good motivation. There are so many spectators here supporting us so I hope to be able to fight for the victory. If I don’t do it, I hope a Finn can win because it has been four years since the last victory and we start to feel it here,” added the Polo R pilot.

    Team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen was third, 0.9sec behind Latvala, with Henning Solberg posting fourth fastest time on his fifth run through the stage in a Ford Fiesta RS. He was 1.6sec off the pace.

    Finns Mikko Hirvonen and Juho Hänninen completed the top six in a Fiesta RS and Hyundai i20 respectively.



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    Thursday
    SS1 Lankamaa


    A challenging test and perfect curtain-raiser as it offered a mix of everything competitors encounter over the four days. Wide and narrow roads, crests, jumps and dips were all there on roads close to the home of Finnish legend Juha Kankkunen.

    Jari-Matti Latvala set the early pace at Neste Oil Rally Finland, the Finn blasting his Volkswagen Polo R through the test 2.6sec faster than Kris Meeke.

    As thunder and lightning rolled around the countryside north-east of Jyvaskyla, Latvala, who was fastest in shakedown this morning, said the heavy rain that fell before the start aided his cause.

    “The first two corners were a bit slippery, but after that I had very good grip. In some places I probably could have pushed harder, but you never know how much to risk,” he said.

    Meeke was relieved the weather eased before he started the stage. “The rain was unbelievable. We couldn’t even see the road on the way to the start but it cleared for the stage,” said the Citroen DS3 driver.

    Road opener S?bastien Ogier was third in his Polo R, the Frenchman in cautious mood. “I didn’t take the full risk. There was a lot of standing water and I wasn’t flat out in the rain,” he said.

    Conditions became more difficult as the rain became heavier in the final third of the test and the road surface deteriorated. “It was an absolute monsoon, and the ruts were filling with water,” explained Craig Breen, starting only his second event in a World Rally Car.

    click: wrc.com/finland-update-1/



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

    Thursday – SS2 Jouhtikyl?

    Back in the itinerary after an absence of 22 years, it flows from from crest to corner to crest to corner. It's wide at the start but narrows in the second part. It has often been used for testing and Kris Meeke hit a rock here in 2011 when working with Mini.

    Jari-Matti Latvala posted a second consecutive fastest time to extend his advantage at Neste Oil Rally Finland to 5.3sec.

    The Volkswagen Motorsport driver was 2.2sec faster than team-mate S?bastien Ogier, who climbed to second in the standings. Both are driving Polo Rs.

    “Very, very good grip in there. Just one slippery braking area,” said Latvala, for whom this afternoon’s rain, which bound together the loose surface gravel, was the perfect gift for a driver second in the start order.

    Ogier admitted to a small mistake while Mikko Hirvonen, who was eighth fastest in his Ford Fiesta RS and more than seven seconds behind Latvala, admitted he was ‘trying to hang on’.

    Having been off the rally agenda for so many years, drivers made fresh pace notes during the recce and Thierry Neuville was not best pleased with his.

    “My notes are too slow and I’m overdriving which isn’t good for my confidence. I’m struggling a bit at the moment,” said the Belgian.

    Also unhappy was Martin Prokop, the Czech driver explaining he had no feeling for the grip and could not understand where his limits lay.

    click: wrc.com/news/july/finland-update-2/



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

    SS3


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

    SS4


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

    Thursday Wrap

    Jari-Matti Latvala controlled Thursday’s (31 July) short opening leg of Neste Oil Rally Finland to build a 4.5sec overnight lead.

    The Finn delighted his home fans by setting fastest time on three of the four special stages in a Volkswagen Polo R to head team-mate and FIA World Rally Championship leader Sébastien Ogier.

    Afternoon rain provided early starters Latvala and Ogier with the best of the grip, the soft gravel road surface deteriorating with the passage of more cars.

    Latvala took full advantage to win the first two stages and share fastest time with Ogier in the next. The Frenchman ended the day by taking the honours in the spectacular Jyväskylä street test.

    Latvala’s only drama was on the last corner of the day when he ripped the front right wing from his Polo R. “There was a chicane with a straw bale on the inside. I cut it too much and hit the bale, but it was nothing too serious,” said 29-year-old Latvala.

    Kris Meeke is third, the Citroen DS3 pilot 9.2sec behind Latvala and the only other driver in contact with the leading duo. Mikko Hirvonen snatched fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS on the final stage, but he is already 26.4sec from the lead.

    Juho Hänninen initially held fourth but the Finn lost 15sec in the badly rutted penultimate test and then dropped behind Hirvonen in the final stage. The gap between them is only 0.7sec, and the Polo R of Andreas Mikkelsen rounds off the top six.

    Read More: wrc.com/news/july/finland-leg-1-wrap/


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    Leg 2: Friday
    Rally Finland:Update #3




    SS5 Pihlajakoski 1...Last used in the 1980s, Friday’s opener offered a mix of fast and technical sections. It started on a wide road in a protected historical area and the first 9.6km were typical fast Finnish roller-coaster roads before it became narrower towards the finish.

    Just 1.6km was all Robert Kubica managed before the Pole’s day came to a premature end. His Ford Fiesta RS went off the road and couldn’t continue.

    Leader Jari-Matti Latvala emerged unscathed from a big scare when he flirted with disaster in a roadside ditch.

    “I had a moment on a left-hander. I was quite a long time in a ditch to be honest. It was the first stage we recced and I had a pace note which didn’t say the corner tightened. A bit of pressure for the heart!” admitted the Finn.

    However, he was still fastest by 0.4sec in his Volkswagen Polo R to extend his lead over team-mate Sébastien Ogier to 5.7sec The Frenchman admitted he was ‘a little bit too cautious’.

    Thierry Neuville finished with the rear spoiler missing from his Hyundai i20 and damage to the back. “I went wide at a slippery braking point for a tight corner and hit something with the rear,” said Neuville, whose pace will be compromised until the spoiler can be replaced at the lunchtime service.

    Kris Meeke dropped a couple of seconds with pace note issues in his Citroen DS3, while team-mate Mads Ostberg’s troubled start continued. “We had quite a few big moments. The car is different from yesterday. It’s working now, but I seem to have forgotten how to drive it,” he said.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-3/



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

    SS6 Päijälä 1



    Another test new to most drivers as it was last used 11 years ago. The opening section was blindingly fast before it merged with the more familiar route in Päijälä village. Plenty of flat-out crests and jumps here.

    Volkswagen claimed its 250th stage win with the Polo R when Jari-Matti Latvala further extended his lead in Neste Oil Rally Finland.

    He was quickest by 0.4sec from team-mate Sébastien Ogier and his fifth fastest time in six stages widened his lead to 6.1sec. The German manufacturer’s stage win record since its debut in Monte-Carlo last year is a remarkable 67 per cent!

    Juho Hänninen (pictured above) dropped from fourth to eighth when he lost a minute after rolling his Hyundai i20. “I had a slow puncture from the start but a couple of kilometres from the finish I hit a bank and rolled backwards into a ditch,” said the Finn, whose car is relatively undamaged apart from a cracked windscreen.

    Kris Meeke was on target to pip Latvala for the win, but the Northern Irishman slid wide on a long right bend and ended 2.1sec adrift.

    Belgian Thierry Neuville suffered after his mistake in the previous stage which removed the rear wing from his i20.

    “We have no aero on the rear. I had no grip on the rear, especially at the fast start and even over the jumps. I had to be careful because there’s no feeling, although it’s OK in the slower sections,” said Neuville.

    An incorrect pace note almost cost Martin Prokop dearly when the Czech driver jumped his Ford Fiesta RS off the road. “I thought I would roll,” he said.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-4/



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

    SS7 Kakaristo 1 and SS8 Painaa 1



    Kakaristo comprised a large part of the classic Ouninpohja stage but with some of the wide road roller-coaster sections missing. It was last used in 2008, but in the opposite direction. Painaa was a mix of old familiar tests and used as the Power Stage in 2013.

    Kris Meeke and Sébastien Ogier claimed stage victories through Kakaristo and Painaa, but it was Jari-Matti Latvala who headed the standings at Neste Oil Rally Finland as competitors returned to the Jyväskylä service park for mid-leg service.

    Citroen’s Meeke claimed his maiden stage success in Finland after edging Mikko Hirvonen by 0.9sec in the slippery Kakaristo. The roads were covered in loose gravel, conditions that handed an advantage to the later starters.

    Normal service was resumed in Painaa as Ogier headed Volkswagen colleague Latvala by 0.9sec. That meant the two arrived in service separated by 8.4sec. Meeke was the only driver anywhere near the leading duo, the Briton 13.1sec off the lead.

    Mikko Hirvonen moved his Ford Fiesta RS up to fourth, 39.1sec behind Latvala, when Juho Hänninen rolled his Hyundai i20 earlier in the morning. Although the damage was not great, Hänninen completed the final two tests with no windscreen and lost more time when the dashboard fell into the lap of co-driver Tomi Tuominen.

    Andreas Mikkelsen is fifth but a more confident Mads Ostberg closed in and they were split by just 0.8sec. Hayden Paddon holds a 2.3sec advantage over Thierry Neuville in seventh, the Belgian describing his i20 as ‘undriveable’ after he wiped the rear wing from the car earlier.

    Elfyn Evans and Martin Prokop complete the leaderboard in their Fiesta RS cars, but the similar vehicle of Robert Kubica went no further than 1.6km into the opening stage before the pole went off the road.

    In WRC 2, Jari Ketomaa continues to lead in his Fiesta R5. The Finn holds a comfortable 49.4sec lead over Karl Kruuda, with Sébastien Chardonnet third, a further 33.9sec behind.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-5/

    SS7:



    SS8:



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    SS9 Pihlajakoski 2

    Last used in the 1980s, it offered a mix of fast and technical sections. It started on a wide road in a protected historical area and the first 9.6km were typical fast Finnish roller-coaster roads before it became narrower towards the finish.

    Thierry Neuville has been sidelined from Neste Oil Rally Finland after his Hyundai i20 suffered damage to the roll cage this morning.

    The Belgian swiped the scenery during the opening run through Pihlajakoski after sliding wide at a slippery braking point. The impact ripped the rear wing from the car and Neuville struggled during the rest of the loop with no aero assistance.

    FIA technical chiefs examined the car when it returned to the mid-leg service in Jyväskylä and identified the roll cage damage. Neuville did not restart and although Hyundai was hopeful repairs could be made in time to rejoin tomorrow under Rally 2, the damage was too great and he will go no further.

    Sébastien Ogier was fastest by just a tenth of a second at an amazing average speed of 130.66kph. Kris Meeke was second with leader Jari-Matti Latvala half a second further back.

    Martin Prokop broke a rear wheel and damaged the suspension geometry on his Fiesta RS after swiping the rear against the countryside, while Henning Solberg stalled his engine.

    Craig Breen survived a close encounter with what the Irishman described as ‘the world’s biggest moose’. “It was almost on my bonnet!” he said.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-6/



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

    SS10 Päijälä 2



    Another test new to most drivers as it was last used 11 years ago. The opening section was blindingly fast before it merged with the more familiar route in Päijälä village. Plenty of flat-out crests and jumps here.

    Jari-Matti Latvala extended his lead into double figures for the first time at Neste Oil Rally Finland as he sped through the second pass of Päijälä 4.0sec faster than closest rival and team-mate Sébastien Ogier Pictured above).

    His lead climbed from 7.8sec to 11.8sec and the Volkswagen Polo R driver put his pace down to a lesson learned in the previous test.

    “I realised in the stage before that I need to focus, to concentrate on keeping the car in the clean lines and not attack too much in the corners. That seems to have worked. A really, really good stage for us,” said Latvala.

    Ogier found the afternoon sunshine had dried the roads since the morning pass, making the surface more loose and slippery. “There’s a little bit of cleaning now. It’s not so much loose but enough for first car,” said the Frenchman.

    Kris Meeke was just 2.0sec down on Latvala and the Citroen DS3 pilot closed to within 2.8sec of Ogier. “That was one of the most beautiful stages I’ve experienced in Finland,” he told WRC Live radio.

    Mads Ostberg and Mikko Hirvonen exchanged places in fourth and fifth after Hirvonen spun his Ford Fiesta RS. “The rear touched a post and we spun. We were lucky not to lose a wheel,” said Hirvonen.

    Juho Hänninen reported intermittent power steering problems in his Hyundai i20 while Henning Solberg changed a front right puncture after hitting some stones.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-7/



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

    SS11 Kakaristo 2

    Kakaristo comprised a large part of the classic Ouninpohja stage but with some of the wide road roller-coaster sections missing. It was last used in 2008, but in the opposite direction.

    Kakaristo was dry and loose and road opener Sébastien Ogier cut a frustrated figure at the stage end.

    He dropped 8.3sec to leader Jari-Matti Latvala to add to the 4.0sec ceded in the previous stage, and within those two tests the margin between the team-mates had stretched from 7.6sec to 20.1sec. Worse still, he dropped behind Kris Meeke into third.

    “What can I do?” asked Ogier. “Nothing. I do my best.”

    Latvala acknowledged Ogier was at a disadvantage by sweeping the roads but questioned whether there was more to it.

    In some places, for sure, he’s losing out but also it can be a mental issue – when you think you’re at a disadvantage. We were pushing hard and we took some really big risks. Miika (co-driver Anttila) was not telling me to slow down though, so he knew we were on the attack,” said Latvala.

    An overjoyed Meeke tried to keep a lid on his excitement. “It’s a little bit crazy, I didn’t expect this,” said the Citroen DS3 pilot.

    The duelling Mads Ostberg and Mikko Hirvonen were tied on overall time, Ostberg rueing the set-up on his DS3 which was too low for the increasingly rough conditions. But as they fought, Andreas Mikkelsen was second fastest to leapfrog both into fourth, 2.3sec ahead.

    Henning Solberg punctured again in his Ford Fiesta RS and Martin Prokop crashed his similar car 12.7km after the start.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-8/



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




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

    SS13


    Latvala takes control at Rally Finland

    A blistering Friday afternoon performance from Jari-Matti Latvala enabled him to stretch his advantage at the head of the Neste Oil Rally Finland leaderboard.

    The Finn added less than four seconds to his overnight lead during this morning’s four special stages. But a hat-trick of stage wins this afternoon allowed him to build a 19.7sec lead in his Volkswagen Polo R at the end of the second leg of the four-day event.

    “We pushed hard and took some really big risks. I felt relaxed and had a good feeling, and when I’m relaxed I normally do my best performance,” said Latvala, who survived an early morning scare when he dropped his car into a ditch.

    The ultra-fast gravel roads suited Kris Meeke, who moved his Citroen DS3 into second, relegating world champion Sébastien Ogier’s Polo R into third. The gap between them is 1.6sec.

    The Northern Ireland driver showed his best pace to date for the French team and won a stage this morning. Stage opener Ogier took on an unwilling role as sweeper as the afternoon sun dried the roads, leaving a coating of loose surface gravel.

    “It was a frustrating afternoon,” admitted the Frenchman. “But I’m still happy with what I’ve done and happy to finish my sweeping role.”

    Andreas Mikkelsen, Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Østberg fought hard behind the leading trio. Hirvonen held the initiative for most of the day until a spin allowed Østberg, who became increasingly confident after overnight set-up changes, moved ahead.

    But Mikkelsen leapfrogged them both to hold a 1.2sec advantage in his Polo R over the Norwegian’s DS3, with Hirvonen a further 1.9sec adrift in his Fiesta RS.

    Read More: wrc.com/news/finland-leg-2-wrap/



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    Saturday
    SS14 Mokkipera




    Mökkiperä is a Finland classic but this year it was run in the opposite direction to normal. The first part was on flat roads with long straights and 90 degree corners, before turning into a high-speed roller coaster over big jumps and through fast bends.

    Leader Jari-Matti Latvala extended his Neste Oil Rally Finland advantage to 23.7sec after setting fastest time through Saturday’s opening Mökkiperä test.

    The fight for second intensified as third fastest for Sébastien Ogier moved the Frenchman to within 0.9sec of Kris Meeke. But Ogier acknowledged it could have been better.

    “I almost missed a junction near the start and lost a couple of seconds. Not the start I wanted but that’s life. I have to do better on the next one,” said the Volkswagen Polo R driver.

    Meeke was unperturbed by Ogier’s move. “Losing 0.7sec over 14km to the world champion on an attack? I’ll take that. If he keeps nibbling away at me I’m not too bothered. I have to drive my own roads against my own stopwatch,” said the Citroen DS3 pilot.

    Further down the order the three-way fight for fourth between Andreas Mikkelsen, Mads Østberg and Mikko Hirvonen also remained unaltered. However, Østberg admitted he lost time after twice braking too late for junctions. “Maybe I tried too much,” he said.

    A non-starter this morning was Martin Prokop, who crashed his Ford Fiesta RS yesterday afternoon and the damage was too great to continue.

    click: wrc.com/news//finland-update-9/



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

    SS15 Jukojarvi 1



    This is only the second time Jukojarvi has been run in this direction. Known for its countless junctions, it’s quite different to the traditional Finnish stage.

    World champion Sébastien Ogier regained second place in Neste Oil Rally Finland after completing Jukojärvi 4.0sec faster than Kris Meeke.

    Meeke relegated Ogier to third yesterday afternoon as the Frenchman struggled on the slippery loose gravel. However, more even conditions this morning allowed Ogier to climb back ahead of the Northern Irishman.

    “It was a good run, better than the first stage,” said Ogier, who missed a junction in the previous test. “I had good fun and I’ll try to continue like that on the next stages.”

    Meeke admitted to a degree of caution after hitting a stone on the driving line with the front right wheel of his Citroen DS3. “I thought it was a puncture, but I think the stone caught the rim and there was a vibration,” he said.

    Jari-Matti Latvala further extended his lead, despite running wide. “I missed the optimum line, but it made me more focused after that. Sometimes you need to wake up your mind,” said the Volkswagen Polo R pilot who now leads by 24.9sec.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-10/



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

    SS16 Surkee 1

    Surkee had several rhythm changes which challenged drivers’ abilities to adapt. Wide roads contrasted with narrower sections, with rocks lining the roadside in the latter.

    Three out of three for Jari-Matti Latvala as the leader completed a hat-trick of stage wins on Saturday morning at Neste Oil Rally Finland.

    The Finn was quickest by 4.1sec in his Volkswagen Polo R to widen the gap between himself and team-mate Sébastien Ogier to 29.0sec.

    “I like this stage, it’s my favourite of the rally. It’s very technical and the big road is very, very fast,” said Latvala.

    Ogier stretched his advantage over third-placed Kris Meeke to 4.5sec, while in the battle for fourth Andreas Mikkelsen is starting to pull clear. He is 6.7sec ahead of Mads Østberg with Mikko Hirvonen a further 8.9sec behind, the Finn feeling his Ford Fiesta RS was too soft.

    Eighth-placed Elfyn Evans gave himself a small scare after a brush with the scenery in his Ford Fiesta RS. “I clipped something early on at a corner and I thought we might have a puncture but it was OK,” said the Welshman.

    All the drama in this stage came in WRC 2. Leader Jari Ketomaa dropped almost 3min 30sec after stopping to change a puncture on his Fiesta R5, a task complicated when the car fell off the jack. Third-placed Sébastien Chardonnet crashed his Citroen DS3 after 5km.

    Karl Kruuda now leads the category by 2min 37.6sec from Ketomaa, with Ott Tänak 42.8sec behind in third.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-11/



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

    SS17


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

    SS18


    SS17 Himos 1 and SS18 Leustu 1


    Himos was a mixed surface test on service roads around a ski resort. Leustu was a slightly longer version of the 2013 test and again tackled in the opposite direction to its usual format. The first 4km were narrow before it opened and became faster.

    Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala shared the stage wins at the end of Saturday’s opening loop at Neste Oil Rally Finland, but the Finn remained firmly in control as drivers returned to service in Jyväskylä.

    Latvala was fastest through Leustu to claim four wins from five morning stages and the lead over his Volkswagen team-mate is 29.9sec.

    He finished with a brake cooling pipe trailing beneath his Polo R but was unflustered. “It’s been a good morning and I’ve really enjoyed the driving. I was a bit more cautious around the ski resort because I’ve driven it only once in the last years,” he said.

    Read More: wrc.com/news/finland-update-12/


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    Saturday Afternoon
    SS19 Mokkipera 2




    Mokkipera is a Finland classic but this year it was run in the opposite direction to normal. The first part was on flat roads with long straights and 90 degree corners, before turning into a high-speed roller coaster over big jumps and through fast bends.

    Mads Ostberg retired from fifth place at Neste Oil Rally Finland when the roll cage of his Citroen DS3 was found to be damaged during the mid-leg service in Jyvaskyla.

    The Norwegian reported a ‘massive impact’ with a rock in Leustu (SS18) immediately before service. When the car was examined by FIA scrutineers, they found the damage.

    “I can’t express how gutted I feel,” said Ostberg. “We didn’t have the best start to the rally, but made progress all the way and this morning we had a great rhythm and the pace was good. We were on course for a big battle with Andreas (Mikkelsen) and Mikko (Hirvonen).”

    Citroen Racing deputy team principal Marek Nawarecki said the impact happened when the car landed after a jump and the suspension was compressed.

    “We carried out a thorough investigation of the front right suspension, but in fact the impact was underneath the car on the undertray,” he added. “This damaged part of the roll cage in the engine bay. It’s not something we’re able to fix here, so we have no choice but to withdraw his car.”

    In the stage a large hole just after the midpoint caused issues for several drivers. Kris Meeke, Robert Kubica, Elfyn Evans and Henning Solberg all hit it, the latter two suffering punctures on their Ford Fiesta RS cars.

    Leader Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest by 1.2sec from Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier, with Meeke third, 0.2sec further back in his Citroen DS3.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-13/



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

    SS20 Jukojarvi 2

    This is only the second time Jukojarvi has been run in this direction. Known for its countless junctions, it’s quite different to the traditional Finnish stage.

    Neste Oil Rally Finland leader Jari-Matti Latvala dropped 11sec to closest rival Sebastien Ogier after hitting a huge hole and damaging the brakes on his Volkswagen Polo R.

    Ogier and third-placed Kris Meeke also hit the hole, but Latvala suffered most and his advantage over his colleague dropped to 20.1sec.

    “There was a massive, massive hole in one place that we hit. We had a brake problem afterwards and I had to back off until the end of the stage. Everything seems to be OK now, but we have to get the brakes fixed before the next stage,” explained the Finn.

    Meeke was second fastest behind Ogier, 3.2sec adrift of the Frenchman. “We hit a big hole going into a flat left corner,” said Meeke. “We had a big impact and the car bounced up. When you’re doing that speed over a crest and it’s completely blind, it’s not funny.”

    Mikko Hirvonen, promoted to fifth by Mads Ostberg’s demise, was another to fall foul of the rutted roads. His impact punctured the front right tyre and damaged the shock absorber on his Ford Fiesta RS and he dropped 10sec.

    WRC 2 leader Karl Kruuda and second-placed Jari Ketomaa also reported ‘hole damage’. Kruuda’s oil pressure warning light flashed on while Ketomaa reported a strange noise coming from his Fiesta R5.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-14



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

    SS21 Surkee 2



    Surkee had several rhythm changes which challenged drivers’ abilities to adapt. Wide roads contrasted with narrower sections, with rocks lining the roadside in the latter.

    Jari-Matti Latvala’s Neste Oil Rally Finland lead came under threat from Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier as brake problems continued to hinder the Finn.

    Latvala ceded 7.3sec to his colleague as he drove the second pass through Surkee with just three brakes working on his Polo R after a massive impact in a hole across the road in the previous test.

    “We managed to fix some of the things but not completely and I had to drive with it. It was very, very hard I can tell you. We don’t have the front right caliper so we only have three brakes. There’s nothing else I can do, I have to drive with three brakes,” said a deflated Latvala.

    Two stages remain before Latvala reaches the sanctuary of service, but the next at Himos ski resort includes a steep downhill section where his lack of brakes will be severely tested.

    Another victim of the ruts in the previous stage was Mikko Hirvonen, whose Ford Fiesta RS continued to struggle with a broken front right shock absorber.

    “In this stage the roads were not in such a bad condition. In the fast sections it wasn’t a problem but it feels really soft. We’ll manage,” said Hirvonen, who remains fifth.

    Ogier claimed the stage win by 5.1sec from Kris Meeke’s Citroen DS3, with the limping Latvala still third fastest. Both Ogier and Meeke hit the same hole as Latvala but emerged unscathed.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-15/



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

    SS22


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

    SS23


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

    Latvala holds lead after Finland drama



    A defiant Jari-Matti Latvala ended Saturday’s penultimate leg of Rally Finland with a slender 3.4sec lead over team-mate Sebastien Ogier following a dramatic finale to the day.

    Five wins from six stages enabled Latvala to stretch his overnight lead from 19.7sec to a comfortable 31.1sec. But the Finn hit a hole across the road in the rutted second pass through Jukojarvi (SS20) and broke the front right brake caliper on his Polo R.

    He drove the final three tests with just three brakes and championship leader Ogier, who earlier indicated it would be ‘stupid’ to try to catch Latvala, seized his chance. He was fastest through the final four stages to set up a thrilling sprint to the finish tomorrow.

    “I had to hold on,” said Latvala. “I’ve worked so hard and I didn’t come here to lose this rally. We’ll get the car fixed in service and tomorrow we’re in the fight for victory. I don’t care so much about the world championship right now, this is about Rally Finland.”

    Ironically both Ogier and third-placed Kris Meeke hit the same hole as Latvala but escaped unscathed. Meeke started the day in second ahead of Ogier but refused to be drawn into a battle and ended 29.0sec behind after a troublefree day in his Citroen DS3.

    “It’s not nice what happened to Jari-Matti,” said Ogier. “I can’t smile too much about the situation. I have a chance to win, but it came about by chance because Jari-Matti was doing a great job at the front.”

    Andreas Mikkelsen lay fourth in another Polo R, the Norwegian seeing off challenges from Mads Østberg and Mikko Hirvonen. Mikkelsen ended the day with no brakes while Hirvonen broke the front right shock absorber on his Ford Fiesta RS in Jukojärvi and lost time.

    Hayden Paddon was sixth in a Hyundai i20, holding off team-mate Juho Hänninen by 28.8sec. Elfyn Evans was eighth, the Welshman frustrated at not being able to raise his speed this afternoon with Craig Breen and Henning Solberg completing the leaderboard.

    Ostberg was the only major retirement. He was withdrawn at the mid-leg service when FIA scrutineers discovered damage to his roll cage following a massive impact with a stone. The Citroen DS3 driver was fighting Andreas Mikkelsen for fourth at the time.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-leg-3-wrap/


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    Sunday
    SS24 Ruuhimaki




    The final day opened with a Rally Finland classic. Ruuhimaki is famed for a sequence of flat-out jumps near the end. After a long straight and several 90 degree corners, the jumps started at 2.5km, building up to the big ones in the final section.

    Fastest time for Jari-Matti Latvala through the opening stage of Sunday’s final leg of Neste Oil Rally Finland stretched his lead to 5.0sec.

    After almost losing his lead last night with brake problems, Latvala reasserted his authority to go quickest by 1.6sec over Volkswagen Polo R team-mate and closest rival Sebastien Ogier.

    “I didn’t lift over any jump. I was jumping on the wrong line coming to the end but luckily there were no problems. I came here to win this rally. I want to do something for the Finnish rally fans and that’s my motivation,” said a pumped up Latvala.

    Ogier was less happy with his performance. “Not a good start to the stage. I was better at the end but I wasn’t surprised to be slower at the beginning. This stage is flat out all the way so it’s hard to make a difference,” he said.

    Mikko Hirvonen was also unhappy. “I missed all the junctions at the start, my braking was all wrong,” he said.

    Craig Breen completed in severe discomfort after hurting his back following a heavy landing over a big jump. The Irishman climbed out of his Fiesta RS just beyond the finish and medical treatment was quickly summoned.

    “I tried to go flat over the famous jumps and now I’m flat on my back! I’m disappointed because I wanted to finish and it’s not going to happen,” said Breen.

    Hayden Paddon dropped 20sec with a power steering problem in his Hyundai i20 while Robert Kubica reported losing a gear after a heavy landing in his Ford Fiesta RS.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-16/



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

    SS25 Myhinpaa



    The organisers seemed to have saved the best for last as Ruuhimaki was followed by another classic at Myhinpaa. Fast flowing corners, crests and dips provided one of the toughest challenges of the weekend.

    The fight for victory at Neste Oil Rally Finland will go down to the final stage after Sebastien Ogier clawed back time on leader Jari-Matti Latvala through the penultimate Myhinpaa test.

    The Frenchman was fastest in his Volkswagen Polo R by 1.3sec, at an amazing average speed of 134.64kph, to reduce the margin to Latvala to 3.7sec with just the final 6.79km live TV Power stage remaining in Ruuhimaki.

    Latvala was unable to hear co-driver Miikka Anttila’s pace notes properly due to a problem with his crash helmet.

    “I could only hear on the left side because the speaker was broken on the right which was a bit distracting. We still have some seconds,” a relaxed Latvala told WRC Live radio.

    Ogier seemed resigned to his fate at the finish. “Such a nice stage. I knew we would need a mistake in this one from Jari-Matti because we could never close on him otherwise,” he said.

    Hyundai’s Juho Hanninen and Elfyn Evans climbed to sixth and seventh respectively ahead of Hayden Paddon, who dropped 90sec with continued power steering problems on his i20.

    “I can feel it in my arms, that’s for sure,” said Paddon. “We were always going to drop back so I didn’t take any risks. It’s been a good weekend up to now,” said Paddon.

    Robert Kubica was another to report intercom problems in his Ford Fiesta RS.

    click: wrc.com/news/finland-update-17



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

    SS26 Ruuhimaki 2(Power Stage)



    Latvala wins in Finland



    Jari-Matti Latvala claimed his second Neste Oil Rally Finland victory when he won an enthralling eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Jyv?skyl?.

    The Finn, driving a Volkswagen Polo R, defeated team-mate and championship leader S?bastien Ogier by 3.6sec. Kris Meeke finished third in a Citroen DS3, a further 47.0sec behind.

    Ogier won the rally-closing live TV Power Stage to take maximum bonus points. Latvala claimed two points for second with Meeke taking one.

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

    Fearless Latvalaclinches Finland win

    Finland celebrated on Sunday afternoon as Jari-Matti Latvala kept his nerve to claim a thrilling first home victory at the country’s FIA World Rally Championship encounter for four years.

    Latvala dominated most of the four-day Neste Oil Rally Finland but a brake problem yesterday evening threw his win into doubt. However, he held off a determined charge from Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier to win by 3.6sec.

    Latvala, conscious of the lack of home success in a country where rallying is a national sport, said he was motivated to fend off Ogier by the support from his fans. He was embraced by father Jari after finishing the final Ruuhimaki special stage.

    “It was so hard to take this victory,” he said. “I had a fantastic feeling with the driving but when I had the brake problem yesterday I was in a difficult position. I was so close to losing the victory but I fought back. I was nervous today but managed to hold it together."

    Latvala won 13 of the opening 19 stages to build a 31sec lead over the first three days but broke the front right brake caliper on his Polo R when he hit a large hole. Ogier, who had earlier conceded victory, seized his chance and slashed the margin to under four seconds.

    But with the Finn’s car restored to health today, Ogier had to settle for second. The Frenchman gained maximum bonus points by winning the live TV Power Stage and heads Latvala by 44 points in the title battle with five rounds remaining.

    Kris Meeke drove perhaps the best rally of his career to take third in a Citroen DS3. It was the third podium of the season for the Northern Irishman.

    “A podium is pretty special on the biggest rally of all. But we’re still not near perfection yet. Jari-Matti was the epitome of perfection all weekend in how to drive a rally car on these roads. Until I get there and try to win this rally some day, we’ll have to keep trying for perfection,” he said.

    Read More: wrc.com/news/finland-leg-4-wrap


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

    Next Rnd9 - ADAC Rally Germany Aug21-24




    History

    First held in 1982, the rally was part of the European Championship.
    It relocated to Trier in 200 and joined WRC in 2002.
    Only Citroen has won since it entered WRC. Sebastien Loeb has nine victories, with one each for Sebastien Ogier and Dani Sordo.

    What’s new for 2014

    Start ceremony returns to Trier’s historic Porta Nigra.
    Short stage based almost entirely within the famous Panzerplatte arena.
    New Waxweiler stage in the Eifel Hills, near the Belgian border.

    Official Website: adac-rallye-deutschland.de/

    Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio


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