Lappi on course for shock win after Latvala exit

Jari-Matti Latvala's exit from the Rally Finland with technical issues opens the door to an astonishing potential win for Esapekka Lappi.
Lappi on course for shock win after Latvala exit

Esapekka Lappi is on course for a shock World Rally Championship win in only his fourth event after main rival Jari-Matti Latvala exited the Rally Finland with technical issues.

Toyota driver Lappi had been the surprise leader following a packed first full day of action on Friday, though his vastly more experienced team-mate Latvala had moved back ahead by the midday service point.

However, Latvala's hopes of a satisfying win on home soil would end on SS19 when he stopped with electric issues on his Yaris WRC.

His misfortune means it is 26 year-old Lappi - winner of nine stages from the 21 so far - that takes a healthy 49secs lead Sunday's four final stages over an unlikely top three of himself, M-Sport Ford privateer Teemu Suninen and Juho Hanninen in another Toyota, all three in prime position despite having never competed in a full season of competition at WRC machine level

Behind the all-Finnish trio, fourth place Elfyn Evans is also in strong podium contention having made the best gains over anyone over the course of the day, a stage win on SS21 in the DMACK Ford Fiesta placing him just five seconds shy of second position.

Going in the other direction, Craig Breen continued to fly the flag for Citroen 1m 16s off as his team-mate Kris Meeke slipped back to eighth with wheel damage following another off.

Though he isn't in the hunt for glory, Hyundai's Thierry Neuville but sixth place would make good in-roads into Sebastien Ogier's championship lead, the pair split by 11 points coming into this event.

Ott Tanak climbed to seventh ahead of Meeke, with Dani Sordo ninth and Mads Ostberg - who was as high as third in this event at one stage - down to 10th after going off the road on SS16.

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