31 July 2010
Latvala wins in Finland
Although he saw his lead in the drivers' championship cut slightly – with Ogier gaining a few points by finishing second – he remains comfortably top, 52 points ahead with five rounds to go. The 2-3 result for the Citroen Total WRT also saw the manufacturer extend its lead over Ford from 47 points to 55.
"Bravo to Jari-Matti and Sebastien who drove great rallies," Loeb reflected. "It's good for the sport that the team didn't give any orders at the end of the race. The fifteen points I scored today are a precious help in view of the championship. I've achieved my aim in this rally."
Of the rest, Petter Solberg ended up 4.7 seconds off Loeb and what would have been his fifth podium of the 2010 WRC season. 'Hollywood' began the day in contention for the win, just 9.1 seconds behind Latvala, but sadly he was not only unable to fight for the victory, but also unable to hold off Ogier and Loeb.
"It has been a good rally, and though I am disappointed that I lost my podium, it has been good fun to drive this weekend and to fight with the big teams," Petter said. "I really tried to keep Loeb behind me, but I lost too much time on the stages that I didn't drive last year. You need to experience them to be able to drive them fast. It has been a good close fight both days though, the car was perfect and the stages and the atmosphere here fantastic, so – yes, it really has been a good weekend!"
Dani Sordo took fifth, albeit more than a minute off Solberg and unable to keep up with the trio of Citroen's in front. The Spaniard won't be pleased, as he has been demoted to the Citroen Junior Team for the remaining gravel rounds of 2010, and on this performance it appears Citroen made the right call. Sordo has also lost his place with the Citroen 'A' for 2011 too.
"We were right on the pace at the start of the rally. That's a really positive thing. The car was competitive too. I would have preferred a better final result but the experience that we have accumulated is important. Now I'm going to concentrate hard on the end of the season," Sordo vowed.
Britain's Matthew Wilson was a lonely sixth in his Stobart Ford Focus RS WRC car, and over 3.5 minutes off P5. The Englishman came under increased pressure late on from Mads Ostberg, but just managed to stay in front of the Subaru Impreza WRC privateer - 7.1 seconds splitting the two after the final test.
"I'm really happy to have finished sixth at this rally – we maintained a steady pace throughout and it's definitely paid off," Wilson said. "It's always a difficult event to do well in as there are so many locals competing who know the stages very well.
"This morning's [Saturday] stages was tricky but we managed to keep everything under control. There was something wrong with my steering towards the end of the day – I think the car may have go back to the workshop and be fully stripped and checked. It was getting close with Östberg towards the end but we made it out in front which was a great ending to a very difficult rally."
WRC legend and four-time champion, Juha Kankkunen came in eighth on his first outing at the top level since 2002. The 51-year-old eased off near the end, but still put in a very respectable run, posting a number of top-ten times - his best results, two sevenths.
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