Latvala wins Rally Finland

Jari-Matti Latvala recorded his second straight Rally Finland victory 13.7 seconds ahead of his Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier, thus clinching the third World Rally Championship win of his career. Latvala beat Ogier in a straight battle in the first half of the rally then established a 13-second advantage with some fast and consistent stage times throughout Sunday. The result makes little difference to Ogier's lead in the 2015 WRC title fight, with his championship cushion 89 points thanks to his second place and the bonus score with 6 rallies still to run.

Mads Ostberg joined the VWs on the podium, but it would have been the sister Citroen of Kris Meeke had he not made a mistake on Saturday. Meeke had kept pace with Ogier and Latvala for a while, even briefly leading on Friday morning, before losing pace with what he thought at first might be a broken driveshaft but was actually a transmission issue. He eventually ran wide on a corner and broke a wheel. This incident was just one of the smallest in a typically destructive Rally Finland.

Andreas Mikkelsen had been off the pace and struggling for confidence in the third VW even before a massive crash on Friday morning's last stage, while Haydon Paddon also had a high-speed crash while running fifth for Hyundai. Robert Kubica had crashed late on Saturday, but was already running under Rally2 having suffered an alternator failure when holding sixth on Friday.

Thierry Neuville had got his accident out of the way on Thursday's shakedown. Although that affected his confidence at first, he stayed out of trouble during the rally itself to finish fourth after battling his Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo until the Spaniard lost time in a ditch on Saturday.

Despite M-Sport?s high hopes for its new Ford Fiesta after Ott Tanak's Poland pace, both Tanak and Elfyn Evans damaged their cars on Friday morning and had to limp to the end of the day with ad-hoc repairs due to the lack of a full service. Tanak managed to stay in the top 10 and recovered to fifth, overcoming WRC returnee Juho Hanninen - in an older-spec M-Sport Ford - with one stage to go. Evans eventually finished 13th.

Skoda dominated WRC2 again with Esapekka Lappi and Pontus Tidemand, who finished eighth and ninth overall behind Martin Prokop. Privateer Lorenzo Bertelli claimed his first top-10 finish in a World Rally Car in 10th, pulling away from the recovering Sordo.

Final Results after SS20:

Pos .... Driver .... Team .... Car .... Gap

1 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 2h33m03.8s
2 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 13.7s
3 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1m36.8s
4 Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 3m58.7s
5 Ott Tanak M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 4m29.3s
6 Juho Hanninen Ford 4m44.3s
7 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 6m20.3s
8 Esapekka Lappi Skoda Motorsport Skoda 7m11.2s
9 Pontus Tidemand Skoda Motorsport Skoda 8m52.2s
10 Lorenzo Bertelli FWRT s.r.l. Ford 9m37.4s

2nd August, 2015