WRC: Meeke finishes Friday ahead in Finland

2016-07-29 19:23:58

Kris Meeke kept his lead over Jari-Matti Latvala at 18.1 seconds at the end of the first full day of WRC Rally Finland.

Latvala was able to chip away at Meeke's advantage on occasion through the afternoon, having spent the morning recovering from a mistake that led to a tire delamination, but the Citroen was always able to answer the Volkswagen's pace.

Sebastien Ogier had begun the afternoon chasing them, only to have his first crash of the 2016 World Rally Championship when he spun into a ditch at a hairpin on Surkee.

Sixteen minutes elapsed before Ogier, co-driver Julian Ingrassia and nearby spectators managed to get the VW back on the road, dropping him from third to 56th overall.

Ogier continued in his unscathed car and should still have a shot at powerstage points on Sunday at least.

His nearest championship rival Andreas Mikkelsen is currently fourth, having dropped just behind Thierry Neuville's Hyundai in a very close battle through the afternoon.

Craig Breen continues to hover behind them, staying on the cusp of the podium battle despite admitting his lack of WRC experience made him less confident in the ruts of the afternoon stages.

Fourth for a spell, by the end of the day he was eight seconds away from Mikkelsen and four seconds ahead of the chasing Hayden Paddon.

Ott Tanak started the afternoon on a charge, having been battling Meeke for the lead until suspension damage and a spin dropped him to 10th halfway through the morning.

But after two stage wins and a second place on the loop's first three tests, taking him to the brink of the top six, Tanak sustained a puncture and fell back again.

He will start Saturday eighth between the M-Sport Fords of Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli.

Runaway WRC2 leader Esapekka Lappi holds 10th overall, with Hyundai's Dani Sordo stand-in Kevin Abbring nursing some suspension damage in 11th.

Originally on Autosport.com

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