Jari-Matti Latvala took the lead in the incredibly charged Neste Rally Finland race Friday afternoon, with three drivers tied for second place, only six-tenths behind!
Information: TC7 / 8
TC7: Moxy 1, 20.04 km
Moksi is Friday’s longest stage and contains many speed changes. Two worlds meet as narrow roads contrasting wide sections as pilots push at crazy speeds. Precision is essential on small tracks, with plenty of rock lurking within the tight corners. The big jump near the end promises a lot of two-wheeled landings for fans.
TC8: October 1, 12.28 km
It’s classic at full speed, especially on wide tracks, but ends with narrower tracks at the start and end. Miko Hirvonen, a former Ford driver at Ford, continues to name his favorite stage, despite turning his Ford Focus into a ball in 2010. Once on the broad roads, it is full of courageous high-speed bends, jumps and hills. He is probably best known for his legendary jumping, drawing huge crowds.
Finn won in the second round through Moksi to replace fellow Toyota Yaris Ott Tänak by 0.4 seconds, while Kris Meeke and Esapekka Lappi chased hard in less than two seconds.
Surprisingly, the situation got closer after the next stage of Uriah. The third-fastest time allowed Latvala to take the lead at 0.6 seconds, but Tanak, Miki and Labi were unable to separate.
“Ott has the toughest job now because the grooves are narrow and he is driving the road. We did a good job in Uria, but I know where we lost so little time. The grooves were too big at first and I was fighting a lot with the car,” Latvala explained.
Tanak felt conditions were tougher than it had been this morning from his starting position in starting position, while Labe destroyed the failed transmission in his Citron C3 at the last Aurea junction.
Perhaps the happiest member of the quartet was Mick, as the Brit started his 100th World Rally Championship tour. “That was amazing, in the best car and on the best lanes. If I had to turn left now and go home, I’d be happy. The fun to drive on these tracks is incredible,” he said.
Craig Brin was the best of the rest in fifth place, 10.3 seconds off the head in his Hyundai i20. The Irishman slowed down at Moxie when he let a damaged clip into his hood, leaving him blind.
The fastest time for Andreas Mikkelsen in Uria promoted the Norwegian to sixth in the i20. He had 1.5 seconds in hand on Sebastian Augier, whose extinguisher detonated inside the C3 in the previous test.