WRC Rally Finland: ‘Calm’ Meeke on course for win

Kris Meeke to go into the final two stages of Rally Finland with a 34.5sec advantage over Jari-Matti Latvala; Craig Breen currently set for third after Ott Tanak crashes out in SS22 pushing to take the final podium slot
CLICK HERE for Rally Finland leaderboard SS22

Kris Meeke continues to lead Rally Finland after Sunday's first loop, giving the stages “maximum respect” as he closes on victory, while Ott Tanak crashed heavily as he pushed for third.

Meeke concluded Saturday's leg with a comfortable 41sec margin over Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala and that meant he could take it relatively carefully through Lempaa 1 and Oittila 1.

Indeed he was ninth quickest in the first test of the day and sixth in the second to finish the loop with a 34.5sec advantage.

“Completely calm,” the Citroen DS3 WRC pilot told the official WRC site after SS21. “Taking an extra dab on the brakes this morning. Okay, we take a bit of pleasure from the stages but we're giving them maximum respect.”

Speaking after SS22, he added: "Very calm and relaxed in the car. Tanak had a big, big one [in this test]. I hope [team-mate] Craig [Breen] can hold on [for third]. It would be incredible [for the team to get a 1-2].”

Behind, Tanak's bid to wrestle third from Breen ended 3.35km into Oittila 1 when he went off into a ditch after a crest on a right-hand bend. Tanak had been quickest in SS21 cutting the gap to Breen to just 4.8sec before his retirement. Tanak and co-driver Raigo Molder are both okay.

“He [Tanak] went off early in the stage. Seeing him threw me a bit. It's crazy,” Breen said. “Maybe I backed off a bit too much after that. Now we have to keep calm. We can do it.”

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville is next up in fourth, quickest in SS22, and now only 6.6secs off Breen, while Hayden Paddon lies fifth, 2.4secs further back.

M-Sport's Mads Ostberg rounds out the top-six, 8.9secs off P5, from Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen and WRC2 class leader Esapekka Lappi in seventh and eighth. Teemu Suinen and Kevin Abbring round out the top ten.

Championship leader Sebastien Ogier is 29th after his off on Friday in SS10 when he lost over 15 minutes.

Rally Finland now concludes with repeats run through this morning's two test. SS23, Lempaa 2, is due to start at 11.15 hours local time [09.15 hours UK time].
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

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Kris Meeke (GBR) Paul Nagle (GBR), Citroen DS3 WRC, Abu Dhabi Total WRT

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