Jari-Matti Latvala wins Rally of Finland
Last Updated: 02/08/15 4:15pm
Jari-Matti Latvala wrapped up a home victory in the Rally of Finland for the second year running by safely negotiating Sunday’s two stages.
The Volkswagen driver began the day 13.2 seconds clear of his team-mate Sebastien Ogier and extended his advantage by a further 0.9secs by winning the 19th stage over 14.13km through Myhinpaa.
The 20th and final stage was a repeat run through Myhinpaa with Frenchman Ogier turning the tables this time, although he only narrowed the deficit by 0.4secs to leave Latvala the overall winner by 13.7secs.
The Finn, who has now won the gravel event three times, also posted a new record by completing the fastest rally in World Championship history with an overall average speed of 125.44 kph, beating the previous record of 122.89 set in Finland in 2012.
Norwegian Mads Ostberg was third for Citroen, his third podium of the season, one minute and 36 seconds behind Latvala.
Double world champion Ogier took three bonus points by winning the final power stage, with Latvala picking up two extra points for second place.
Ogier is now 89 points clear of Latvala in the overall standings with five rounds remaining - the next round is in Germany from August 23.
"This was one of the greatest drives of my life," Latvala told wrc.com.
"I'm proud to be a Finn today. I've had a tough season but winning my home event is like winning half a world championship.
"I've focused fully on this rally for three weeks. After my disappointment at the last round in Poland, I decided my title hopes had gone and concentrated fully on preparing for Finland. It paid off today."
1 J-M Latvala (Fin) Volkswagen 2:33:03.8
2 S Ogier (Fra) Volkswagen +13.7secs
3 M Ostberg (Nor) Citroen +1:36.8
4 T Neuville (Bel) Hyundai +3:58.7
5 O Tanak (Est) Ford +4:29.3
6 J Hanninen (Fin) Ford +4:44.3
7 M Prokop (Cze) Ford +6:20.3
8 E Lappi (Fin) Skoda +7:11.2
9 P Tidemand (Swe) Skoda +8:52.2
10 L Bertelli (Ita) Ford +9:37.4
Drivers’ Championship standings:
1 S Ogier (Fra) Volkswagen 182pts
2 J-M Latvala (Fin) Volkswagen 93
3 M Ostberg (Nor) Citroen 84
4 A Mikkelsen (Nor) Volkswagen 83
5 T Neuville (Bel) Hyundai 70
6 K Meeke (Gbr) Citroen 54
7 E Evans (Gbr) Ford 53
8 O Tanak (Est) Ford 50
9 H Paddon (Nzl) Hyundai 44
10 D Sordo (Esp) Hyundai 39