Latvala leads Rallye Finland after day 2

Jari-Matti Latvala has established a slender 2.6 second lead over his Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier by the end of Friday afternoon at Rally Finland, after taking time out of Ogier on the second run through the Pihlajakoski stage, a trend that continued throughout the loop.

Kris Meeke's challenge for the lead wavered in the closing stages of the day as he fell back into the clutches of team-mate Mads Ostberg. Citroen driver Meeke, who was worried about driveshaft issues in the early afternoon stages, topped Paijala by three seconds but lost significant time later in the day when he picked up a 10-second penalty for turning up to the Himos checkpoint late, leaving him 24s off leader Latvala.

Hyundai's Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville, who had collided with a tree on the shakedown on Thursday, finished the day well off the pace in fifth and sixth. The pair have been locked in an intra-team battle throughout the afternoon with Neuville finishing on top by 2.7s after Sordo suffered a recurring exhaust issue.

Returnee Juho Hanninen is still M-Sport's leading contender in sixth, comfortably ahead of Martin Prokop in seventh and fellow M-Sport drivers Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak, both having a day to forget, though the Estonian has at least hung on to a top-10 place. Without a full midday service the duo were forced to limp their way through the afternoon stages.

Evans, who has suspension damage, and Tanak, who has a broken damper, were glad they were able to make it to the end of the day without retiring and picking up Rally2 penalties. The same however couldn't be said for Robert Kubica and Hayden Paddon. Kubica retired from sixth at the midday tyre zone with an alternator problem, while Paddon, who was running fifth, was involved in a heavy crash near the end of stage six. Both he and co-driver John Kennard were unscathed but were forced to retire from the whole event.

WRC2 leader Esapekka Lappi was able to capitalise on others' mistakes to finish Friday in the top 10. The Finn is 11.7s clear of Tanak in ninth in the overall standings and is over a minute clear of his WRC2 rivals after a commanding day at his home rally.

Positions after SS10:
Pos ... Driver ... Team ... Car ... Gap
1 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 1h16m19.2s
2 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 2.6s
3 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 24.0s
4 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 34.1s
5 Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m49.6s
6 Daniel Sordo Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m52.3s
7 Juho Hanninen Ford 2m22.5s
8 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 2m46.6s
9 Esapekka Lappi Skoda Motorsport Skoda 3m18.5s
10 Ott Tanak M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 3m30.2s

31st July, 2015