Juho Hänninen ends Saturday of Rally Poland in 11th position, after a challenging day in which every team hit problems. Jari-Matti Latvala maintained his place in the lead battle until encountering a mechanical issue on stage 16 that forced him to stop from third place. He will return to action tomorrow under Rally 2 regulations.
The longest day of the rally, featuring nine stages and 144.74 kilometres, proved to be extremely tough, with some more rain in the afternoon and deep ruts forming on the soft gravel stages. Hänninen struggled to maintain turbo boost pressure in the morning and had a slow puncture on stage 15 in the afternoon. Latvala had a clean run until he stopped. Today he won one stage, and was just 5.8 seconds off the overall lead at one point this morning.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“Obviously a very tough day for us, after we already lost Esapekka yesterday. Now Jari-Matti has had some problems. We have to keep working hard and learning to keep getting better. It’s a pity what happened. Anyway, we will look at the car to understand exactly what happened and hopefully Jari-Matti can score some Power Stage points tomorrow. It was also a tough day for Juho. But I hope he can still end the rally with some points as well. It’s still possible for us to score points with both our remaining cars here, so that is now the target.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“I’m very disappointed that we had to retire for the day. On SS16 I had to stop due to technical reasons. So that was it for the day for us. Up to then my feeling with the car was good. We’ve lost a valuable opportunity to score points that would have been important for the championship. Still, the only thing we can do is fight back now, because we never give up, and I’m looking forward to returning to action tomorrow.”
Juho Hänninen (Driver car 11)
“This was quite a frustrating day for us but the most important thing is that we are still here at the end of it and of course with the problems for our team mates now it’s important that we get to the finish and try to score some points. To drive around the turbo boost problem I had to keep the engine revs high, but it was OK: we knew what to do. The afternoon was OK, but then we had the slow puncture that cost us some time. On the last stages of the day the ruts were really deep: it was a real struggle to put the power down. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.”
End of Day 3 (Saturday):
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h10m26.3s
2 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3.1s
3 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +25.5s
4 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m32.0s
5 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m43.8s
6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m06.2s
7 Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau (Citroen C3 WRC) +2m20.3s
8 Mads Ostberg/Ola Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m45.8s
9 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m23.1s
10 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Citroen C3 WRC) +3m34.6s
11 Juho Hänninen/Kaj Lindström (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m38.0s
24 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +27m49.7s
Retired Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC)
(Results as of 23:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
Poland has produced some quick rally drivers – including reigning European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz – but none as famous as Robert Kubica. He built his reputation in Formula 1 as a grand prix winner but quickly gained a new legion of fans in his first full season of rallying in 2013. That year he made his Rally Poland debut, fighting for the lead of the ERC round before losing a wheel. After winning the WRC2 title, he stepped up to the top level and won 14 stages over two seasons.
The final day of the rally consists of just four stages totalling 59.66 kilometres. However, there is no service halt between the stages, with only a refuel halt. The event concludes with the 18.68-kilometre Power Stage, Paprotki, which represents a final opportunity to score championship points. After leaving service at 06:40, the winner is expected on the finish ramp in Mikolajki’s main square at 14:30.
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