Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala has taken the early lead on Rally Finland after winning the opening two tests this afternoon.

Latvala, who was quickest in the shakedown, completed the first test, the 23.44 kilometre Lankamaa 1 test, in 11 minutes 17.3 seconds - 2.6 seconds up on Kris Meeke, who was 'best of the rest'. With conditions wet, those running at the front were less disadvantaged than usual and in fact it was those starting later that really lost out, at least in SS1, as the rain then intensified.

It remained rainy for SS2 too, with Latvala again quickest, this time 2.2 seconds up on team-mate, Sebastien Ogier, who moved up to P2 overall.

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"The rain helped a lot," Latvala confirmed after SS1, "In the first two corners it was really slippery but it was OK after that. I could probably have gone faster but it could have been a bit risky."

"A good start, very good grip at the moment - just one slippery place under braking," Jari-Mati added following his SS2 win.

"I was a little bit afraid we might have some more problems with grip under braking but it was OK."

Ogier was also happy with the conditions: "In the dry this stage [SS2] would have been very slippery with a lot of loose gravel, so I was quite glad that it was wet. I was hoping for rain, I was very happy to see this," he confirmed.

Meeke meanwhile is third in his Citroen DS3 WRC, just 0.2 seconds up on the Hyundai of Juho Hanninen.

Mikko Hirvonen completes the top five for M-Sport, but he is already 14.9 seconds off the lead and 7 seconds off the battle for third: "They (Latvala and Ogier) are going at an unbelievable speed. The feeling is okay," he noted.

Behind, Andreas Mikkelsen holds sixth with Mads Ostberg a frustrated seventh, while Henning Solberg, Thierry Neuville and Robert Kubica round out the top ten.

In WRC2, Ott Tanak heads Drive DMACK team-mate Jari Ketomaa by 3.6 seconds. Ketomaa was quickest in SS1, but Tanak moved in front in Jouhtikyla.

Competitors now head to the re-group, before the opening day concludes with a second run-through Lankamaa (ran as SS3) and then the first of two runs through the short 2.27 km Harju test (SS4). SS3 is due to start at 19.07 hours local time [17.07 hours UK time].

Rally Finland: Overall standings after Stage 2 (Top 10):

1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 16m 19.8s M
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 05.3s M
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 07.6s M
4. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 07.8s M
5. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 14.9s M
6. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 18.8s M
7. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 18.9s M
8. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 24.4s
9. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 25.7s M
10. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 28.8s M


11. Jarkko Nikara Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 37.5s
12. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 41.9s M
13. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +00m 42.6s M
14. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 44.2s M
15. Craig Breen Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 10.8s
16. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +01m 20.7s WRC2
17. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +01m 24.3s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 2 (Top 3):

1. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 17m 40.5s WRC2
2. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 03.6s WRC2
3. Eyvind Brynildsen Ford Fiesta RRC +00m 24.4s WRC2

Notable retirements:


M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial