Kris Meeke has made history today as the first British driver to win Rally Finland. The Citroen DS3 driver and his co-driver Paul Nagle had a perfect rally from start to finish, this was their third career victory in WRC and the second of the season. For Citroen, they celebrated a double podium thanks to Englishman Craig Breen’s third place finish in the second Citroen DS3 WRC.
Volkswagen had its fair share of cake from Rally Finland 2016 too, first from Jari-Matti Latvala’s second place finish and by claiming full points from this round. Despite finishing first, the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team did not register for points this season and for that their points were inherited by Volkswagen Motorsport who now lead the manufacturer’s standings by 49 points over second placed Hyundai Motorsport.
Championship leader Sebastien Ogier was on course for a competitive and challenging rally but the Volkswagen driver got stuck in a ditch on Friday for 15 minutes. His advantage was reduced to a fantasy as his rivals were nowhere to be seen. Meeke held the lead after the first full day of action followed by Latvala and Thierry Neuville in the Hyundai i20 WRC. This is the first time since Spain 2015 that Ogier has failed to score points in a WRC event, he still leads the championship by 45 points over Mikkelsen and Latvala.
This being his home rally event, Latvala was eyeing for a repeat of his previous victories at Rally Finland 2016. That said, the Polo R driver gave it all he had but Meeke’s pace was simply unmatchable even by the always fast Polo Rs. Breen on the other hand had all reasons to celebrate his P3 finish, his best WRC result as well as his first fastest stage victory in WRC.
Neuville and his teammate Hayden Paddon ensured a fourth and fifth finish for Hyundai Motorsport, they were only separated by 2.3s. Sixth place went to Mads Ostberg, he was the best placed Ford driver in his Fiesta RS WRC. Andreas Mikkelsen placed the other VW Polo R in seventh place.
The next event on the WRC calendar is the all tarmac rally in German scheduled to tale place on August 18.