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Jari-Matti Latvala holding off Sebastien Ogier in Finland

Jari-Matti Latvala holding off Sebastien Ogier in Finland
By AutoSport

01/08/2015 at 12:48Updated 01/08/2015 at 15:43

Jari-Matti Latvala held on to a small Rally Finland lead over Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier through Saturday morning.

Latvala brought a 2.6-second gap over Ogier into the morning stages.

Through Mokkipera, the opening stage of the day, he picked up his Ouninpohja pace from Friday to extend his lead by 3.4s.

Ogier wasn't going to let that affect him as he reversed the gap on the following stage, beating Latvala by a commanding 3.9s, and closing the overall margin to just 2.1s.

The Frenchman continued to chip away at the gap on the run through Surkee, though this time only by 0.1s.

Latvala responded on the final stage of the morning though, beating Ogier by one second, to take a slim three-second gap into the afternoon stages.

Kris Meeke, who struggled through the closing stages on Friday, changed his transmission overnight and it seemed to work wonders as the Citroen man was visibly more comfortable with the car.

He did lose time to the leaders but continued to increase his advantage over fourth-placed team-mate Mads Ostberg to 13.5s.

Hyundai team-mates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo resumed their intense intra-team battle from Friday.

Neither driver set the timing screens alight through the morning stages but Neuville was able to extend his gap to 5.9s over Sordo, who is comfortably ahead of World Rally Championship returnee Juho Hanninen in seventh.

Ott Tanak started the day afresh without the damper issues that hampered his running on Friday.

The Estonian was instantly back on the pace and jumped up the order from 10th at the beginning of the day to eighth, 20.6s ahead of Martin Prokop, by the end of Saturday morning.

WRC2 leader Esapekka Lappi continued his blistering pace to remain in the top 10, 1m11.9s clear of Skoda team-mate Pontus Tidemand.

Robert Kubica returned under Rally2 following his retirement at the midday point on Friday with alternator issues.

The same couldn't be said for Andreas Mikkelsen and Hayden Paddon, though. They are both firmly out of the running after their Friday crashes, with Mikkelsen enjoying watching the rest of the rally with the spectators.

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