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Rally Finland - after stage 16
Ford World Rally Team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila and team-mates Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson retained third and fourth in Rally Finland through this morning’s four speed tests. The gap between the two increased from 1.1sec last night to 20.0sec as this eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship journeyed into classic territory in the forests near Jämsä.
Today’s final leg is marked by smooth, wide, fast roads and roller-coaster jumps for which this rally is renowned. In overcast, but dry conditions, the day opened with two identical loops of two speed tests, comprising the 14.95km Surkee and the 21.94km Leustu.
Latvala was second and third through the two stages in the opening loop, before again claiming second in Surkee and tying for fastest time in the second pass through Leustu.
“I drove as fast as I could but I don’t have the opportunity to catch the guys ahead on pace alone. I’m relaxed today and happy with the car so I’ll maintain a strong pace and see what happens during the last two long stages. We made some small improvements to the car and so it was a good morning,” explained Latvala.
Solberg was sixth through Surkee and Leustu during the first run and fourth in both tests during the second pass. “I changed the settings for the opening stage to try to find the ‘magic’ set-up, but it didn’t work. The car was too low and the sump guard was hitting the road, so I changed it back. The set-up we worked on during the test was the best so I decided to go back to those settings,” he said.
“The car is working well and I’m looking forward to the final two stages in Ouninpohja. I hold the record there, but I will need to be totally focused because it’s probably the most challenging stage in the world. There’s no time for games there,” he added.
Two passes through the 33.01km Ouninpohja complete the rally. It is the longest test of the event and comprises more than 20 per cent of the rally’s competitive distance. The wide roads are littered with stomach-churning jumps and with the second pass offering bonus points to the fastest three drivers, the pace will be frenetic.
Leaderboard after stage 16 of 18
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen DS3 1hr 57min 23.9sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Citroen DS3 1hr 57min 33.3sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Fiesta RS 1hr 57min 49.3sec
4. P Solberg/C Patterson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 1hr 58min 09.3sec
5. O Tänak/K Sikk EST Ford Fiesta RS 1hr 59min 25.6sec
6. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 1hr 59min 27.7sec
7. M Rantanen/M Lukka FIN Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 01min 26.1sec
8. J Ketomaa/M Stenberg FIN Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 01min 56.7sec
9. M Prokop/Z Hrůza CZE Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 02min 08.5sec
10 S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Skoda Fabia S2000 2hr 04min 28.8sec
For more information: Contact Mark Wilford or Tone Nesheim Tonerud at the Ford World Rally Team media desk in Jyväskylä Tel: + 358 14 685062. Images available at www.worldrallypics.com/ford