Estonia’s Ott Tänak ended Saturday of Rally Finland in front with a comfortable buffer of 16.4 seconds ahead of his closest rival. The Toyota driver benefited from running on cleaner roads compared to yesterday and could focus this afternoon on managing his gap rather than extending it.
Instead, Citroën’s Esapekka Lappi was well decided to push to the limits and climb up the leaderboard. He snatched two stage wins this afternoon to claim second overnight behind Tänak.
His fellow compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala, who damaged his Yaris WRC in the morning and had a puncture, adopted a slightly more cautious approach in the afternoon to hold third place at the end of Day 2.
While there were some consistent gaps between the top three, positions in the middle of the pack were covered by only 10 seconds, showcasing an intense fight between Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen, Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier, and the other Hyundai driven by 2019 newscomer Craig Breen.
In this threefold battle, Mikkelsen underlined his dominance by claiming the final stage win of the day and fourth overall.
His French rival Ogier had made it a Citroën one-two on SS16 by going second fastest behind Lappi, getting past both Mikkelsen and Breen to take a provisional fourth overall. On the following stage, Mikkelsen demoted him to fifth, but Ogier remained ahead of Breen, who said he felt more comfortable on the faster and wider sections rather than the narrow parts of the road.
For Thierry Neuville, it was a difficult day. The Belgian lost time on SS18 with a bent arm on the right-rear suspension of his Hyundai, which affected the behaviour of the car. But he managed to fix the problem before the final stage of the day to finish Saturday in eighth overall.
Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith remained eighth and ninth on Saturday evening in their Ford Fiestas WRC, but the gap between them extended to more than two minutes.
In FIA WRC 2 Pro, it was another day of domination for local hero Kalle Rovanperä at the wheel of the Škoda Fabia R5 Evo. The Finn concluded in 10th overall after a trouble-free run throughout Saturday. Eric Camilli is the class’s second with his Ford Fiesta R5 MkII, more than 4 minutes behind.
In 11th overall up to the final stage of the day, the long-time FIA WRC 2 leader on the rally, Pierre-Louis Loubet, suffered a heavy blow as he went off in the stage and dropped down to fourth place with a loss of 8 minutes.
Russia’s Nicolas Gryazin is the new class leader, ahead of Finland’s Jari Huttunen and Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson – the current World Rallycross Champion – in third.
Another Swede, Tom Kristensson, heads the FIA Junior WRC classification, with his fellow compatriot Dennis Rådström within 25 seconds of him in the runner-up spot. Spain’s Jan Solans completes the Junior podium, a further 46 seconds behind Rådström.
2019 Rally Finland – Unofficial Results after Section 5:
|1. Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST)||Toyota Yaris WRC||2hr 08min 49.4sec|
|2. Esapekka Lappi (FIN) / Janne Ferm (FIN)||Citroën C3 WRC||2hr 09min 5.8sec|
|3. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) / Mikka Anttila||Toyota Yaris WRC||2hr 09min 18.2sec|
|4. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) / Anders Jaeger-Amland (NOR)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2hr 09min 39.9sec|
|5. Sébastien Ogier (FRA) / Julien Ingrassia (FRA)||Citroën C3 WRC||2hr 09min 42.5sec|
|6. Craig Breen (IRL) / Paul Nagle (IRL)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2hr 09min 48.5sec|
|7. Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2hr 10min 08.7sec|
|8. Teemu Suninen (FIN) / Marko Salminen (FIN)||Ford Fiesta WRC||2hr 10min 54.7sec|
|9. Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Elliott Edmondson (GBR)||Ford Fiesta WRC||2hr 12min 59.1sec|
|10. Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN)||Škoda Fabia R5 Evo||2hr 15min 22.9sec|