Flying Finn Latvala Wins Home Event as Ogier on Brink of Title – Rally Finland 2015 Report

The eighth round of the 2015 World Rally Championship season saw the crews tackle one of the fastest rallies in the world, the Neste Oil Rally Finland. Known affectionately as the Rally of 1000 Lakes, the rally delivers high speed drama and spectacular crashes. This year was no exception. After 320 kilometres of blistering action, it was the local hero Jari-Matti Latvala who took his second win of the year, moving him up to second in the Drivers’ Championship in the process. But it was the second place finish for his team-mate Sebastien Ogier that was of greater importance, as it left him on the brink of his third consecutive WRC Championship. Citroen driver Mads Ostberg completed the podium.

From the outset, as has been the case this season, it was the Volkswagen team who launched into an early lead, with Latvala taking the lead from Ogier on stage 8 and not relinquishing it after. Their closest challenger on day 1 was the Citroen of Kris Meeke, who actually led at one point before falling away from the leading duo. However he then threw away his podium place by sliding off the road on the wet gravel of stage 16 and eventually finished 18th. He wasn’t the only leading driver who couldn’t keep their car on the road; Andreas Mikkelsen crashed out on stage 5 and Hayden Paddon retired with accident damage on the following stage. Robert Kubica had a nightmare rally which included a broken handbrake, a broken alternator that forced his first retirement and a roll on day 2.

But it was Latvala who managed to keep ahead of his team-mate to take the victory, in the process setting the quickest ever average speed for a WRC event. The winning margin was 13 seconds but Ogier just pipped the Finn to take the maximum 3 Championship points on the power stage. Ostberg took advantage of his team-mate’s problems to take third, ahead of Thierry Neuville, who had the Hyundai mechanics to thank after a massive crash on the Shakedown stage. Ott Tanak was the leading Ford in fifth despite a damper problem on the opening day ahead of Juho Hanninen, who was making his first WRC appearance this season. Martin Prokop recovered from an opening day off to take seventh ahead of WRC-2 class winner Esapekka Lappi, who finished a minute and a half ahead of Pontus Tidemand. The final point went to Lorenzo Bertelli, his first of the year, showing the improvement the Italian was making. The winner of the WRC-3 and Junior WRC classes was Frenchman Quentin Gilbert, by just half a second from Henri Haapamaki, and the winner of the Drive DMACK Cup was Briton Tom Cave.

The results of this rally means that Ogier could wrap up the title on the next event, in the vineyards of Rallye Deutschland, which takes place from the 20th-23rd of August. See you then!

Final Classifications – Neste Oil Rally Finland 2015

Pos. Driver Co-Driver Car Time/Diff
1 J. Latvala M. Anttila Volkswagen Polo R WRC 2:33:03.8
2 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Volkswagen Polo R WRC +13.7
3 M. Ostberg J. Andersson Citroen DS3 WRC +1:36.8
4 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 WRC +3:58.7
5 O. Tanak R. Molder Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4:29.3
6 J. Hanninen T. Tuominen Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4:44.3
7 M. Prokop J. Tomanek Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6:20.3
8 E. Lappi J. Ferm Skoda Fabia R5 +7:11.2
9 P. Tidemand E. Axelsson Skoda Fabia R5 +8:52.2
10 L. Bertelli L. Granai Ford Fiesta RS WRC +9:37.4

Rally Finland 2015 Ostberg

Classifications – WRC-2

Pos. Driver Co-Driver Car Time/Diff
1 E. Lappi J. Ferm Skoda Fabia R5 2:40:15.0
2 P. Tidemand E. Axelsson Skoda Fabia R5 +1:41.0
3 Y. Protasov P. Cherepin Ford Fiesta RRC +4:58.3
4 S. Pedder D. Moscatt Ford Fiesta R5 +6:45.6
5 A. Grondal R. Eilertsen Citroen DS3 R5 +8:17.8
6 J. Alonso J. Monasterolo Ford Fiesta R5 +21:27.8
7 M. Rendina E. Inglesi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +24:25.8
8 G. Linari N. Arena Subaru Impreza STi N15 +34:37.8
9 A. Foulon M. Lukka Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +35:21.1
10 J. Vainionpaa M. Juntunen Citroen DS3 R5 +59:44.8

Rally Finland 2015 Skoda

Classifications – WRC-3/Junior WRC

Pos. Driver Co-Driver Car Time/Diff
1 Q. Gilbert R. Jamoul Citroen DS3 R3T Max 2:54:43.6
2 H. Haapamaki M. Salminen Citroen DS3 R3T Max +0.5
3 O. Veiby A. Jaeger Citroen DS3 R3T Max +3:09.1
4 T. Folb F. Le Floch Citroen DS3 R3T Max +9:27.3
5 J. Perry J. Reibel Citroen DS3 R3T Max +10:30.8
6* D. De Tommaso M. Bosi Peugeot 208 VTi R2 +12:24.6
7 M. Al-Mutawaa S. McAuley Citroen DS3 R3T Max +28:16.4
8 J. Huttunen A. Linnaketo Citroen DS3 R3T Max +30:17.5
9 F. Della Casa D. Pozzi Citroen DS3 R3T Max +31:48.2
10 S. Tempestini M. Chiarcossi Citroen DS3 R3T Max +43:51.8

* – Not eligible for JWRC points

Rally Finland 2015 Logo