Just one-tenth of a second divided Ford World Rally Team’s pairings as they completed the opening loop of speed tests in the second leg of Rally Finland. Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson head the team’s challenge in third in a Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car, having moved ahead of team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila during this morning’s two special stages.
After a late finish to yesterday’s short and sharp opening leg, drivers were back on the road at 06.30. Ahead of them lay nine more stages covering 133.82km and the action began with the 12.75km Urria and the 22.29km Jukojärvi.
Solberg was fourth through Urria, a test well-known for its famous jump which is so severe that drivers must slow to 90kph to avoid damaging their cars on landing. The 37-year-old Norwegian was third in Jukojärvi to return to service at the rally base in Jyväskylä 12.3sec from the lead.
“I made no mistakes and I’m happy to have moved up to third,” said Solberg. “The car worked well and I’m planning a small change in service to try to improve performance further. The roads were quite rutted in places which made driving tricky, but I feel confident and I want to try to close on the two drivers ahead now.”
Latvala started the day with third in Urria and was fifth in Jukojärvi, but the 27-year-old Finn was frustrated with his performance.
“The opening stage was OK, but I dropped time compared to my rivals in the next one,” he admitted. “I made some set-up changes overnight which improved my feeling with the car and I’m going to make some more here in service. I will revert to the set-up I used on the last round in New Zealand, which is close to what I have used so far but with a few small differences.
“I’m pushing hard but I need to relax and settle into the right rhythm and I’m sure my times will then improve. It’s important to keep my driving clean and not push too hard so that I lose time by going sideways,” added Latvala.
Leaderboard after stage 5 of 18
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen DS3 31min 43.8sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Citroen DS3 31min 48.2sec
3. P Solberg/C Patterson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 31min 56.1sec
4. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Fiesta RS 31min 56.2sec
5. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 31min 59.6sec
6. T Neuville/N Gilsoul BEL Citroen DS3 32min 03.2sec
7. O Tänak/K Sikk EST Ford Fiesta RS 32min 20.1sec
8. C Atkinson/S Prévot AUS Citroen DS3 32min 23.4sec
9. J Ketomaa/M Stenberg FIN Ford Fiesta RS 32min 40.2sec
10 M Rantanen/M Lukka FIN Ford Fiesta RS 32min 57.8sec
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