Rally Finland 2022: Tänak, the only one capable of beating the Toyotas

The Estonian leads overall but Lappi is only 3.8 seconds behind

Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä battle it out for third place

Drivers will face eight more stages tomorrow

Ott Tänak finished Friday’s leg of the 2022 Rally Finland top of the overall standings. The Estonian from Hyundai was the only one able to beat the Toyota “army” in the Finnish woods and has a certain advantage over Esapekka Lappi, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä, although they still have a lot of kilometers ahead of them.

The 2019 world champion surprised today with a sublime performance. Although yesterday he assured that he didn’t have a good feeling with the car and that he was very pessimistic about the options to beat the Toyotas, today he pulled out all the stops and started the day with an impressive “scratch” that would put him in the lead of the general.

unsatisfied, Tänak maintained his very high pace until the end of the morning loop and reached the sixth straight with a 6.2 second lead over Esapekka Lappi. In third place was Elfyn Evans, over eleven seconds behind, and Breen, Rovanperä and Katsuta were on the hunt for the Welshman; Thierry Neuville, uncomfortable already more than 25 seconds behind the leader.

In the next group, Pierre-Louis Loubet was in seventh place ahead of Jari Huttunen and Gus Greensmith. On the other hand, Adrien Fourmaux lost a lot of time due to power steering problems and Oliver Solberg had an accident – including a rollover – at the first change which will lead him to abandon the rally definitively.

We were entering the evening loop and with a few drops of rain present on the windscreens of the cars, Kalle Rovanperä stepped in to try to get into the fight for victory. The Finn was starting to get ahead of Evans, Breen and company, but couldn’t beat Tänak and Lappi in the first three stages of the afternoon.

We thus reach the last special of the day, the second passage through Sahloinen-Moksi. A special which would see how Kalle Rovanperä almost said goodbye to the rally – a strong scare on the exit of a left turn – before the hour and also the third consecutive scratch for an Esapekka Lappi who did not want to say goodbye to the fight for victory so easily.

After this good weather, Lappi finished the stage just 3.8 seconds behind Tänak in the general classification and more than 15 seconds ahead of Evans and Rovanperä, who are fighting for third place on the podium. On the other hand, Breen is fifth, also deep in a great fight with Katsuta and with Neuville in the background trying to get into the rhythm.

In WRC2, the local drivers are clearly the dominant players in the event, with Teemu Suninen as the leader par excellence and Miko Heikkilä, Emil Lindholm or Sami Pajari in the “opposition”. In WRC3, Lauri Joona is more than half a minute ahead of Toni Herranen. It should also be noted that Justus Räikkönen, Kimi’s nephew, is at the top of his category in his first World Cup.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s session, it must be said that it will be a tough test for the drivers. With eight stages divided into two loops and more than 150 timed kilometres, it’s the longest day of the weekend. On this occasion, there will be two passes on the roads of Päijälä, Rapsula –a new section for this edition, although it includes well-known sections–, Patajoki and Vekkula.

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

  1. Ott Tanak – 50’41”2

  2. Esapekka Lappi – +3”8

  3. Elfyn Evans – +19”3

  4. Kalle Rovanpera – +21”0

  5. Craig Breen – +32”5

  6. Takamoto Katsuta – +35”5

  7. Thierry Neuville – +50”2

  8. Pierre-Louis Loubet – +1’00”9

  9. Gus Greensmith – +1’02”6

  10. Teemu Suninen – +2’59”9

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