SS8 : Latvala grabs lead in Finland
Jari-Matti Latvala tamed the mighty Ouninpohja stage to claim his 400th WRC stage win and move into the lead of Neste Oil Rally Finland on Friday afternoon.
The Finn literally flew through the daunting rollercoaster test, where cars leap into the air more than 70 times, to outpace Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Sébastien Ogier by 5.4sec and move into a 2.1sec lead in this eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
“I have never driven this stage so fast – I have respect for Ouninpohja,” said Latvala. “I almost made myself scared in a couple of places because I had so much air over the jumps.”
Ogier had a clean run but, as first in the start order, the Frenchman thought he was suffering from the lines created by the national rally competitors who tackled the stage following the WRC’s initial pass this morning.
Thierry Neuville was beginning to get to grips with the rally after a difficult start. The Belgian was fifth fastest and climbed above Hyundai i20 team-mate Dani Sordo into fifth overall.
During the liaison section before the stage Sordo repaired the exhaust pipe problem that troubled him in the previous stage.
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