NEWS: Rally Finland 2014

Wow! What a Rally Finland – with one of the most thrilling, close-fought finishes in recent WRC history between Volkswagen Motorsport's and WRC No.1 man Sebastian Ogier and local hero Jari-Matti Latvala, with just 3.6 seconds between them after 100's of special stage miles, with Jari claiming an empathic win. 
And it was such a superb, happy event, with the drivers absolutely buzzing from their runs through the fastest, biggest air stages of the WRC, packed Finnish forests full of rally fans and all the usual crashes, rolls, thrills, spills and gravel-spitting of any WRC loose surface event. Epic!  
And it was a superb drive by Brits Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle, who produced a series of remarkable performances throughout Rally Finland to secure an incredible third place in their DS3 WRC, proving their pace in a car that's simply not as fast as the VW Polo R WRC. Fair play Kris, and only 50.6s off the lead too. Impressive stuff. 
Norwegian superstar Andreas Mikkelsen came in forth in the third VW Polo R, with a fabulous drive,  with Mikko Hirvonen's Ford Fiesta RS WRC claiming fifth, and a superb result by Juho Hänninen in the developing Hyundai i20 WRC – proving why Hyundai brought him in for the super fast Finnish event. 
And in other great news for us British rally fans, Elfyn Evans and his co-driver Daniel Barritt brought their new-livery M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC home in a very respectable seventh place. Well done Elfyn! 
Whilst VW Motorsport are absolutely dominating the season, with 305 manufacturer points and 
Sébastien Ogier (187 points), Jari-Matti Latvala (143 points) and Andreas Mikkelsen (95 points) the top three drivers in the championship, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team has now consolidated its second position in the World Rally Championship standings with Kris' third place on the podium.
The short but tricky final leg of Rally Finland saw Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle confirm their third place. Never out of the top three from the very first stage, Kris held firm on Ruuhimäki and Myhinpää – driven at an average speed of close to 132kph – to rack up his third podium in 2014, after Monte-Carlo and Argentina.
In addition to the fifteen points earned at the end of the rally, the Briton also picked up an extra point by finishing third in the Power Stage.
Leader from start to finish in his DS3 R3, the Slovakian Martin Koci secured his first win in the FIA Junior WRC. He finished ahead of the Frenchman Quentin Giordano and the Australian Molly Taylor, the first woman to claim a podium finish in this category.
Kris Meeke said: "This podium is even more special than the others. We kept in touch with the leaders throughout the two days. We then protected our position, but we ended the rally less than a minute behind the winner. I know we’ve still got some work to do before we can really challenge for the win. But for the time being I’m happy with third place and the experience acquired for the future. Next year, I hope I can fight to do even better!"
Marek Nawarecki (Citroën Racing Deputy Team Principal): "This podium rounds off a fine Finnish campaign for Citroën after Mads Østberg won the Helsinki Rally Battle. It was a very important event for the team and Kris produced a superb performance, combining consistency and speed. He managed to make the most of the experience acquired in 2013 and the pre-rally testing. The rest of the season should be more favourable for Citroën. It’s down to us to make use of all the work that has been done to date."

1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:57:23.2
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +3.6
3. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +50.6
4. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:52.5
5. Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:49.7
6. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:29.0
7. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:25.8
8. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +6:17.8
9. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +12:07.0
10. Karl Kruuda / Martin Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta R5) +14:44.7…

Jari-Matti Latvala, 14 (including 1 tied) – Sébastien Ogier, 12 (including 1 tied) – Kris Meeke, 1.

SS1 to SS26: Jari-Matti Latvala

1. Sébastien Ogier 187 points
2. Jari-Matti Latvala 143 points
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 95 points
4. Mads Østberg 66 points
5. Mikko Hirvonen 62 points
6. Kris Meeke 54 points
7. Thierry Neuville 46 points
8. Elfyn Evans 42 points…

1. Volkswagen Motorsport 305 points
2. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 130 points
3. M-Sport World Rally Team 106 points
4. Volkswagen Motorsport II 94 points
5. Hyundai Shell World Rally Team 88 points
6. Jipocar Czech National Team 34 points
7. RK M-Sport World Rally Team 21 points
8. Hyundai Motorsport N 12 points

The next event on the calendar, the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, will be contested on tarmac on 21-24 August.


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