The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to lead Rally Finland with only four stages remaining after the Yaris WRC was the car to beat again over Saturday’s stages. It was quickest on the first six of the day’s eight stages, and has now won 15 of the 21 stages held so far. The team’s newest driver Esapekka Lappi leads with a margin of 49.1 seconds.
Already occupying the top two positions at the start of the day with Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing then held all three of the top three positions at mid-day service when Juho Hänninen moved up to third. After winning five stages in a row, Latvala was unfortunately forced to stop during the 19th stage. The team is working to identify the cause and to repair the car so that he can restart on Sunday. Hänninen remains in third place, and is only 4.3 seconds away from second place.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“What happened to Jari-Matti is a big disappointment for everybody. We are sorry for him as he was so quick and he was trying to win in his home territory. We are investigating at the moment exactly what happened, but we know it was an electrical issue. We believe it was only minor but we want to investigate it fully, as we have not seen it before. With two cars on the podium and one in the lead, we still have reasons to smile. Esapekka has done a brilliant job and we hope everything goes well tomorrow.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“The morning was fantastic, from the first stage I had a really good feeling with the car and I really enjoyed the driving. The second time through Ouninpohja started fantastically but then suddenly the car stopped, and there was nothing we could do. It’s devastating but it’s part of motorsport. We are a young team and we know these things will happen, we have to learn from them. We need to find the problem and fix it and then the target tomorrow is to try to do the maximum performance in the Power Stage.”
Juho Hänninen (Driver car 11)
“This morning was very good. It was a clear run. The afternoon was not so easy. I was a little bit too careful in the last stage, which was very narrow at the end, and I could have been a bit more brave. We are still in a good position, but it is very close with the cars around us. I will try to get second place, that’s the goal for tomorrow.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 12)
“It is amazing to be leading at this moment, although I have mixed emotions as I am disappointed for Jari-Matti. He was driving really well. I could not keep up with him without taking big risks, which I did not want to do. When I passed him I slowed down a little bit. I am used to leading with a gap as it happened last year and I know how to manage a lead. I must now concentrate and keep my mind clear. I will sleep well tonight.”
End of Day 3 (Saturday):
1 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h13m02.7s
2 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +49.1s
3 Juho Hänninen/Kaj Lindström (Toyota Yaris WRC) +53.4s
4 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +54.7s
5 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +1m16.9s
6 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m31.6s
7 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m07.5s
8 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +2m59.1s
9 Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3m54.0s
10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m23.6s
24 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +20m40.3s
(Results as of 23:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The Toyota Celica played an important part in a pivotal moment in Rally Finland’s history. In 1990, Carlos Sainz became the first non-Nordic driver to win in Finland, shattering the illusion that only local specialists could tame the rollercoaster crests, at the wheel of a GT-Four ST165. Sainz would go on to win the title at the end of the season by 45 points. Only five non-Nordic winners have ever triumphed in Finland to this day, with the most recent being Kris Meeke last year.
The rally concludes on Sunday with four stages. The first car will be in service at 08:00 in the morning, before taking on the Lempaa and Oittila stages. These will then be repeated without a service beforehand, just a remote refuel. The second run of Oittila will serve as the Power Stage and begins at 13:18 with the finish in Jyvaskyla at 14:31.
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