Jari-Matti Latvala has won his third Rally Finland at this year’s Neste Oil Rally Finland event, this was his second win of the season which was also important as it took place in his home country. The Finn also marked his 14th career win in this round, elevating him to second place in the championship behind teammate Sebastien Ogier. Ogier finished the rally in second but managed to clinch the maximum points in the final TV live stage extending his championship lead to 89 points – he stands a chance to claim the 2015 championship at the next round in Germany!
Elsewhere, Citroën’s Mads Østberg claimed third after inheriting his teammate’s place. Kris Meeke crashed his Citroen and broke his suspension yesterday while chasing both Ogier and Latvala. Notably, Meeke was among the frontrunners in the rally during the early stages alongside Ogier before Latvala took the overall lead. Latvala made history by winning the fastest WRC event ever after recording an average speed of 125.44kph, breaking the previous record of 122.89kph set by Sebastien Loeb in the same location back in 2012.
Speaking about his victory, Latvala said: “This was one of the greatest drives of my life, I’m proud to be a Finn today. I’ve had a tough season but winning my home event is like winning half a world championship. I’ve focused fully on this rally for three weeks. After my disappointment at the last round in Poland, I decided my title hopes had gone and concentrated fully on preparing for Finland. It paid off today,”
Thierry Neuville was another lucky driver in the Rally who ended up finishing fourth. The Belgian driver had an unfortunate warm up session after crashing his Hyundai i20 WRC moments before the rally kicked off. Luckily his team was able to rebuild the car within hours enabling him to secure the fourth place finish. Ford driver Ott Tänak claimed fifth overall in his Fiesta RS leading another Fiesta RS of Juho Hänninen.
Martin Prokop won in the WRC 2 category and shared the podium with the team of Esapekka Lappi and Pontus Tidemand and Lorenzo Bertelli. Rallye Deutschland is the next stop for the drivers marking the first pure asphalt rally of the season and set for August 20.