TOYOTA GAZOO Racing takes an early lead in Finland

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing takes an early lead in Finland

26.07.2018: Rally Finland: Day 1 Thursday, July 26th 2018 Rally Finland is now underway following the opening stage in the centre of host city Jyvaskyla, which consisted of both asphalt and gravel.

Rally Finland: Day 1
Thursday, July 26th  2018

Rally Finland is now underway following the opening stage in the centre of host city Jyvaskyla, which consisted of both asphalt and gravel.

 Watched on by enthusiastic crowds ? with strong support for the locally-based TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team ? Ott Tanak posted the fastest time to claim an early rally lead.

The day began with a 4.26-kilometre shakedown at Vesala, which was far more representative of the high-speed gravel stages that make up the rest of the event.

Here, Jari-Matti Latvala was the fastest of the team's drivers in third, just ahead of Tanak in fourth, while Esapekka Lappi was 10th, but all three had a good feeling with the Toyota Yaris WRC.

Tanak then won the 2.31-kilometre Harju stage, 0.7 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. Lappi was fifth and Latvala was eighth, with 2.8 seconds covering the top 11 cars.


Tom Fowler (Chief Engineer)

“Unlike tonight's first stage, the shakedown was reasonably representative of what is to come during the rally, as a proper gravel stage. The stage conditions deteriorated quite quickly so it is hard to compare the times between the different teams. We didn't have any technical issues, and the drivers didn't make any big changes to their setups.

 In this year's route there are some more technical and twisty sections, but a huge majority of it is still traditional Rally Finland: wide roads, high speeds and the usual jumps. We are confident in those conditions, but the competition is very strong. Everyone has moved forward from last year and some of our rivals start with a very good road position, so I think it will be a good battle.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)

“My time on the first stage was OK: There were a couple of mistakes but it was just important to get this stage done and get the rally started. Shakedown went well this morning.

We made some small modifications to the car between runs and it gave me a very good feeling. The first target this weekend is to have a clean rally, but if everything goes well, I hope to be on the podium or even fight for the victory.”

Ott Tanak (Driver car 8)

“This first city stage is quite a nice one. It's pretty demanding, with even a few high-speed sections. We had a good clean run and I was happy with how it went, but tomorrow's stages will obviously be completely different.

Shakedown was good confirmation that we have everything ready and set for the rally. We know that our car should be strong here and we need to make the most of that. It will be a long week and I expect to have some tight fights, but the aim is to come out on top.”

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)

“It's always nice to start the rally here in the centre of Jyvaskyla, where there are a lot of spectators and a lot of support for the Finnish drivers and for our team. It went much better for me than it did last year, with no mistakes.

 Shakedown was good. It felt very easy to drive and I was not taking any risks. The road-cleaning effect was huge, so I think that tomorrow morning will be crucial: the aim will be to go as well as we can and then see where we are at mid-day service. The target is to win again but it will be much more difficult than last year.”

End of day one (Thursday):

1 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 1m49.2s
2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +0.7s
3 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +0.8s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +0.9s
5 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1.7s
6 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +1.8s
7 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +1.8s
8 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2.3s
9 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2.6s
10 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2.6s

(Results as of 21:30 on Thursday, for the latest results please visit

What's next?

Ten stages make up the first full day of Rally Finland. The morning loop of four stages includes the returning Moski and brand-new Assamaki.

All four stages are repeated in the afternoon, preceded by a single pass over the Oittila test, while the crews complete the day with another run through Harju.

- Stephane Lesuisse - photos TGR 


26.07.2018 / MaP

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