Toyota’s Ott Tanak holds a slender Rally Finland lead after setting the quickest time on the opening superspecial stage on the streets of Jyvaskyla.
The Estonian won the Harju test by just 0.7 seconds, continuing his strong vein of form after winning a recent non-championship round in Estonia.
World Rally Championship title rivals Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier were second and third fastest respectively, with Neuville edging the defending champion by just 0.1s.
Andreas Mikkelsen ensured four cars start Friday within a second of each other, as he cleared the stage 0.9s behind overnight leader Tanak in his Hyundai.
Last year’s Rally Finland winner Esapekka Lappi lies fifth overall, losing time when he ran slightly wide on the exit of a chicane.
After setting the pace on the morning’s shakedown stage, Citroen’s Mads Ostberg and Craig Breen set the exact same time through Harju to share sixth overall overnight. The C3 WRC is running revised front suspension geometry this weekend, which Ostberg in particular feels “really suits me well”.
Jari-Matti Latvala holds eighth after a steady run through the centre of Jyvaskyla, 2.3s off team-mate Tanak’s pace.
M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans and Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon share ninth having set an identical time on the stage, just 0.5s behind Latvala and 0.2s ahead of Teemu Suninen in 11th.
Kalle Rovanpera was the fastest of the WRC2 runners in his works Skoda Fabia R5, shading Hyundai driver Jari Huttunen by 1.8s.
Positions after SS1
|1||Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||1m49.2s|
|2||Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||0.7s|
|3||Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||0.8s|
|4||Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||0.9s|
|5||Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||1.7s|
|6||Craig Breen, S.Martin||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroen||1.8s|
|6||Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroen||1.8s|
|8||Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota||2.3s|
|9||Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai||2.6s|
|9||Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford||2.6s|