Toyota Gazoo Racing Ott Tanak took overall lead of Rally Finland on Saturday. Tanak who takes a lead of 16.4s over Esappekka Lappi and speaking following the action he said:
“It’s been a really good day. This morning it was really intense as everyone was pushing hard. It was good that we were able to build a bit of a gap to Esapekka [Lappi], as this afternoon he did a very good job, and we had to follow his pace. At the same time, I felt really comfortable in the car and it was working very well. In the very rough places I was a bit more careful, but in the smooth and fast sections I really enjoyed it and we had a good rhythm. I think our advantage is good but there is still some way to go so there is still a lot of focus needed.”
It was a disappointing day for Kris Meeke who was forced to retire from the day after hitting a large rock of SS14 on a fast right hander which resulted in the Northern Irishman cracked his left rear suspension however he will be back in action on Sunday:
It had been an incredible fight from the beginning of the rally, and I was enjoying it again this morning: I was in a good rhythm and the car felt phenomenal. In Kakaristo, we came to a fast, fifth-gear right-hand corner, and I just dropped a wheel off the camber on the outside. Normally that wouldn’t be a big problem but there was a massive rock just sitting in the ditch, and I didn’t know it was there, so it was a big surprise. I’m gutted: When the battle is so close like that, and everyone’s trying to do their best for the team, it’s very disappointing to have to stop.
Jari Matti Latvala ended the day in third place overall 28.8s behind his team mate and rally leader Ott Tanak and speaking following the action he said:
We had a fantastic morning speed-wise, fighting for the lead with our team-mates, and I had a really good feeling with the car. But in Kakaristo I was too fast in a right-hander, ran wide into a ditch and hit a big rock. In the afternoon, I knew that I couldn’t afford to make any more mistakes so I tried to find a comfortable speed where I would be avoiding risks. At the same time Esapekka was able to raise his pace, so I couldn’t match that. I’m a bit disappointed that I couldn’t find the right rhythm, but to get the points is the most important thing: To be on the podium tomorrow would be a really important result for myself, but also for the team.
Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Principal Tommi Makinen said:
Overall it has been a very good day: We are a step closer to achieving another great result here in Finland. We saw Ott’s true speed this morning with a better road position. It seems like Esapekka has been keeping the pressure on this afternoon, so he has had to keep pushing a little bit, but he is looking fairly comfortable. Of course, it was disappointing what happened to Kris and Jari-Matti this morning. There was still a long way to go, they had good speed and they could have really controlled things. The main thing for Jari-Matti now is to finish the rally at a comfortable pace without any mistakes.