WRC: Meeke adds to lead on Saturday morning loop

2016-07-30 13:37:01

Citroen's Kris Meeke added to his Rally Finland lead after a string of fast times on Saturday morning's opening loop.

Meeke set the pace on two of the four stages in his Citroen DS3 WRC and was also second-fastest on SS14, to edge further clear of Volkwagen's leading driver Jari-Matti Latvala. Finn Latvala was second fastest over the course of the morning, but dropped 13.4 seconds to Meeke on the opening stage of the day and now trails the Briton by 36.4s on the overall leaderboard.

Latvala has almost a minute in hand over a colossal fight for third, which is now led by the second Citroen of Craig Breen after the Irishman was awarded a nominal time for SS14.

Breen had been fourth overall in his Citroen before the start of the stage, but was forced to complete Paijala at a slow pace after M-Sport's Eric Camilli went off in front of him, dropping 2m38s to stage leader Meeke in the process. But the Irishman was later awarded a time of 10m53.4s – the fourth-fastest stage time – which was enough to move him into third in the recalculated classifications ahead of Thierry Neuville in the leading Hyundai.

Neuville had trailed teammate Hayden Paddon after a slow time on the morning's opening stage, but closed back in on SS14 and SS15 as the pair jumped Andreas Mikkelsen. Belgian Neuville then went third quickest on SS16 and 1s faster than Paddon to claim third before Breen's assigned time bumped the pair back a spot.

SS16 pacesetter Mads Ostberg sits sixth in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta. Mikkelsen, running first on the road after Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier crashed on Friday evening, made the best of his position to stay in the fight and is seventh, 10.6s behind Neuville and 1.9s clear of the rapid Ott Tanak in his DMACK-shod Ford Fiesta.

Tanak, who looked as though he would claim third after setting the fastest first split time on SS15, picked up a puncture and dropped 9s to his rivals, but recovered with a competitive time on SS16, Saalahti, and holds eighth.

In addition to Camilli's off – which disrupted SS14 – Lorenzo Bertelli also exited the rally, with his crash forcing SS13 to be halted.



Originally on Autosport.com

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