Latvala gets Finland lead after morning sweep

Latvala gets Finland lead after morning sweep
By AutoSport

29/07/2017 at 12:22Updated

Jari-Matti Latvala reclaimed the Rally Finland after winning every stage of Saturday morning's loop, as Toyota locked out the top three spots with Finnish drivers.

Latvala reclaimed the lead on the second stage of the morning from fellow countryman Esapekka Lappi, and went on to beat his team-mate by 2.5 seconds on the infamous Ouninpohja.

"I don't care if he's [Latvala] won three times, I want to be fastest," said Lappi at the end of the stage.

"I don't know where he is making the time, if I push harder I'll go off the road."

Lappi - four events into his experience of a 2017 WRC car - trails by 7.8s after the final stage of the loop, Saahlati.

Juho Hanninen took over third for Toyota when Teemu Suninen, in his second event in a 2017 WRC car with M-Sport, missed a chicane in Ouninpohja and had to reverse. He lost over 20s and his place on the podium.

Suninen clawed back time on the final stage of the loop, and the gap is now down to 1.4s.

Elfyn Evans is fifth, but remains in the battle for the podium, in his DMACK-shod Fiesta WRC and trails Suninen by just five seconds.

Craig Breen isn't out of that podium fight and is the highest placed Citroen in the order. The C3 WRC driver lies in sixth and 15s off Hanninen.

Thierry Neuville is in a solid seventh, with 20s in hand and 20s in debt to the driver behind and ahead. The Hyundai drivers have struggled to unlock the i20 Coupe's pace this weekend.

Kris Meeke struggled on with damaged steering, and described his Citroen as feeling like it was "in rear-wheel-drive" as he haemorrhages time to M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver Ott Tanak.

Despite some minor wiper issues, Tanak has flown on the morning loop after crashing on Friday. He has reduced his deficit to Meeke in huge chunks, now trailing by 12.4s.

Jari Huttunen continues to lead WRC2 on his championship debut in a Skoda Fabia R5. Fellow Skoda runner Ole Christian Veiby had been the highest placed R5 car - not registered for WRC2 points this weekend - but he crashed out on SS15 Paijala.