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Latvala ends first day top

BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala will take a 9.1 second lead into the second - and final day - of this year's Rally Finland.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team number two driver Jari-Matti Latvala leads the Rally Finland at the conclusion of the second day.

Latvala, who was third fastest last night in the short opening test, finished the morning loop in second, just 1.3 seconds off Petter Solberg.

He then put in a charge this afternoon, cutting the deficit to just 0.1 seconds in SS6, before moving into P1 in SS7. Latvala then consolidated his advantage over the four remaining stages, increasing his advantage from 2.7 seconds post-SS7 to 9.1 seconds following the repeat-run through the short 4.19 km Laajavuori forest test.

"It's a dream to be in this position," said Latvala, who posted three quickest stage times this afternoon. "When I arrived in the service park tonight the grandstands were full and all the fans cheered and applauded me. That gave me a real boost.

"It's too early to think about winning though, I'm just concentrating on one stage at a time. I need a perfect day tomorrow. I want to find a good balance with my driving and keep a cool head."

Solberg meanwhile ended proceedings having been unable to match Latvala in all the 'proper' tests this afternoon. However it was still a great showing from the Norwegian, especially as he is competing in a privately entered Citroen C4 WRC. He also managed to win the final stage to repeat what he did last night in Laajavuori.

"I'm very happy," said Petter. "Second in the classification and fastest Citroen is actually better than I expected. I didn't push too much, it was much more important to stay on the road and not get any punctures.

"I did lose some time at the Myhinpaa stage [SS8 and SS10], as I didn't do that stage last year, and it is a really tricky stage, but that was expected. I know I can be much faster, and will push a lot more on tomorrow's stages, not only to keep the others behind, but to chase Latvala also."

Sebastien Ogier completes the top three, the Frenchman having got in front of fellow Citroen man Dani Sordo in SS7.

Sordo also lost out to Sebastien Loeb two stages later, and thus finished the day 11.7 seconds back in fifth.

"I had some problems with my pace notes this afternoon," Sordo explained. "You need 100 per cent confidence to go quickly in Finland and that wasn't the case for me then. I lost a few seconds but we are still in the running. We're going to work hard with our stage videos tonight in order to push hard again tomorrow!"




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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