Rally Finland Pace Report

Rally Finland Recap

It took until the middle of Saturday of Rally Finland to separate a group of four potential winners to a clear favourite. To little surprise it was Ott Tanak who once again built the lead, helped due to a more preferable road position. Team mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke were caught out by a rock on SS14 Kakaristo. Latvala out of the battle, Meeke out for the day.

Esapekka Lappi brought a real turnaround of form into Finland and was involved in that battle for the lead. The Citroen C3 couldn’t quite match the pace of the Toyota Yaris on the Saturday morning stages however they managed to claw it back with strong times and rare stage wins in the afternoon to force the fight.

A Second Battle

Craig Breen was mighty impressive in his first WRC outing this season and in the Hyundai i20. Though never grabbing a stage win he was up there for much of Friday. Saturday’s stages were not too kind but he was better placed than teammate Neuville by Sunday for Hyundai to ask he cede the position.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Sebastien Ogier were so closely matched throughout the rally. Neither could relent but neither did they make or force mistakes. In the end it was the Norwegian who pipped the Champion by seconds.

Edge of Nowhere

From third on the road Thierry Neuville could not get his Hyundai i20 through Friday in any position to attack through the weekend. He was in rally no-mans-land until teammate Craig Breen yielded position. Expectations weren’t high but he comes away from Finland having dropped no points to Ogier in the championship.

Teemu Suninen could not match the speeds of the other drivers despite being on home roads. Citing necessary aero issues, tweaks or minor mistakes at stage end interviews shows how precise a driver and car set up needs to be here. Gus Greensmith had a good second WRC outing despite being unhappy at the times. That is until a mistake over a pace note slid them into a tree on the final day ending the rally.

Chart showing high and low positions for Rally Finland.
Overall Rally Finland Classifications with high and low positions.

See the full Rally Finland classifications at WRC.com.

Awards for Rally Finland

Most Impressive Stage Win: SS14 Kakaristo 1 – Tanak & Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris)

Ott Tanak absolutely flew on the first pass of the iconic roads of Kakaristo. He was in his favourite phase of the rally to push and build a manageable lead for the rest of the rally. Lappi would have known Tanak’s intentions but he still had another battle with Latvala and admitted he was pushing. Tanak came through 8.1s clear of Lappi over the 18.7km test. That is massive in the closest of battles of Rally Finland speeds. It equates to over 4 tenths per kilometer. An absolute stonker of a drive on the stage that ended Meeke’s podium hopes and put a dent in the confidence of JML.

To put that pace into perspective, on SS17 the entire top field (bar Greensmith) finished within that gap of pace. This can be seen in the ‘Fingerprints’ chart below.

WRC Pace Analysis. These are seconds/km lost (Y) over the distance (X) of each stage. The area above the driver’s line is the total time lost to stage winning times.

Special Award for Fastest Stage: SS10 Aanekoski 2 – Meeke & Marshall and Latvala & Anttila (Toyota Yaris)

Worthy of note is the fastest stage of the rally at an average of 131.77kph. On an event famous for it’s consistent high speeds it’s great to see this particular stage win was shared by two crews. Not surprisingly both were in the Toyota Yaris.

Award for Outperforming their Raw Pace: Andreas Mikkelsen & Anders Jaegar

Most drivers gained a position when Meeke had his accident. But by xC theory, Mikkelsen should have been beaten by Ogier too. It is as close as 2 hundredths to call but the award still stands after a great performance.

Rally Finland Pace Report Cards

O. Tanak & M. Jarveoja / Toyota Yaris

  • Overall Classification: WINNER
  • Time: 2:30:40.3
  • Expected Classification (xC): 1st
  • Average Pace: +0.08s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.77%
  • Stage Wins: 6/23
  • Points: 30
  • Power Stage: 1st
  • Best Pace: Just about everywhere. SS14 as mentioned above, acing the Power Stage when sensibility could have ruled, starting Friday first on the road and finishing the day 2.6 seconds off the lead. Building the lead all over Saturday…. Phenomenal.
  • Notable Time Loss: Don’t be silly.

E. Lappi & J. Ferm / Citroen C3

  • Overall Classification: 2nd
  • Time: 2:31:05.9 (+25.6)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 3rd
  • Average Pace: +0.16s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.51%
  • Stage Wins: 3/23
  • Points: 18
  • Power Stage: 7th
  • Best Pace: Friday was his best individual day but he was very strong all over. Two stage wins against his rivals on Saturday and forcing errors from the two Toyotas.
  • Notable Time Loss: None. We could pick a sensible power stage was a potential loss of bonus points but EP would be right not to gamble the positional points considering the season he has had, and will likely return to having.

JM. Latvala & M. Anttila / Toyota Yaris

  • Overall Classification: 3rd
  • Time: 2:31:13.5 (+33.2s)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 2nd
  • Average Pace: +0.18s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.43%
  • Stage Wins: 8/23
  • Points: 16
  • Power Stage: 5th
  • Best Pace: Most stage wins and very strong all over, like EP has had a difficult season so a great turnaround of form.
  • Notable Time Loss: Confidence was knocked when the rock was knocked on SS14. This effectively ended his fight for second but third from thereon was a safe bet.
WRC analysis chart showing where time was lost for each crew.
Rally Finland WRC Pace Chart showing where the time was lost or each crew.

A. Mikkelsen & A. Jaeger / Hyundai i20

  • Overall Classification: 4th
  • Time: 2:31:33.7 (+53.4)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 6th
  • Average Pace: +0.25s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.22%
  • Stage Wins: 3/23
  • Points: 15
  • Power Stage: 3rd
  • Best Pace: One stage win each day shows he had a consistent showing up there. Pushed by Ogier but not over-driving into a mistake.
  • Notable Time Loss: Some time lost Saturday morning being uncomfortable in the car, but not affecting results.

S. Ogier & J. Ingrassia / Citroen C3

  • Overall Classification: 5th
  • Time: 2:31:36.4 (+56.1)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 5th
  • Average Pace: +0.26s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 99.20%
  • Stage Wins: 0/23
  • Points: 12
  • Power Stage: 4th
  • Best Pace: Sunday was his strongest day.
  • Notable Time Loss: Illness on Saturday almost certainly impacted results. He had a better day on Friday from second on the road which suggests he may have taken the fight to Latvala in third if he was well.
WRC Pace heatchart for Rally Finland. The mostly greens in this show just how close, and error free, the rally was for the majority of drivers.

T. Neuville & N. Gilsoul / Hyundai i20

  • Overall Classification: 6th
  • Time: 2:32:12.7 (+1:32.4)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 8th
  • Average Pace: +0.38s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 98.83%
  • Stage Wins: 2/23
  • Points: 12
  • Power Stage: 2nd
  • Best Pace: Power Stage was better than his rally. Two stage wins on the Harju super special runs cannot be indicative of the rally.
  • Notable Time Loss: Just did not arrive at the races until the final stage. He said testing in the rain was not enough and setups had to be tweaked.

C. Breen & P. Nagle / Hyundai i20

  • Overall Classification: 7th
  • Time: 2:32:18.5 (+1:38.2)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 7th
  • Average Pace: +0.33s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 98.77%
  • Stage Wins: 0/23
  • Points: 6
  • Power Stage: 6th
  • Penalties: 1 – 20s (Two minutes late at TC)
  • Best Pace: Friday stages suited him and the car, despite zero WRC experience.
  • Notable Time Loss: The penalty came under order from Hyundai to give Neuville their position. Sunday’s later stages were slow to protect that. Organically, Saturday morning’s stages, different in profile to Fridays, forced tweaks to the car setup.

T. Suninen & J. Lehtinen / Ford Fiesta

  • Overall Classification: 8th
  • Time: 2:33:14.1 (+2:33.8)
  • Expected Classification (xC): 9th
  • Average Pace: +0.58s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 98.20%
  • Stage Wins: 0/23
  • Points: 4
  • Power Stage: 8th
  • Best Pace: Consistently quickest to remove his helmet and put on his cap. On a serious note SS2 Oittila was his best performance, followed by his next best, but things went down after that.
  • Notable Time Loss: Never happy with the car, particularly downforce, but I expected better from Teemu on his home roads. He has run a lot better on other events this season.

G. Greensmith & E. Edmondson / Ford Fiesta

  • Overall Classification: DNF
  • Time: —
  • Expected Classification (xC): 10th
  • Average Pace: +1.04s/km
  • Rally Time Rating: 0%
  • Stage Wins: 0/23
  • Points: 0
  • Power Stage: DNS
  • Retirements: 1 – Off Road
  • Best Pace: Mostly consistent and within 1s/km of stage wins, considering the lack of experience.
  • Notable Time Loss: Times began to slow through Saturday with changes to setup. Only one significant moment was the terminal slide into the tree.

K. Meeke & S. Marshall / Toyota Yaris

  • Overall Classification: DNF
  • Time: —
  • Expected Classification (xC): 4th
  • Average Pace: +0.18s/km (Completed Stages)
  • Rally Time Rating: 0%
  • Stage Wins: 3/23
  • Points: 0
  • Power Stage: DNS
  • Retirements: Two – both Off Road.
  • Best Pace: Very strong all Friday and Saturday until he hit that rock.
  • Notable Time Loss: Sunday morning should have been an easy cruise up to the power stage to bag some positional and power stage points. But he still hit something to end his rally. His xC places him 4th, which increases to 3rd if you remove his completed Sunday stages. Consider the assertion in my Raw Pace post that he underachieves his pace with over-driving. The debate will go on whether these two incidents were his fault or not. What’s not arguable is another example of big points lost.

If you enjoyed this post check out some more WRC Analysis posts. Take a look at the previous round in Rally Italy Sardinia or have a look at the recent Raw Pace special.

I’d be delighted if you would like or share this post in your networks, or telling me its worth by clicking one of the thumbs below, thanks. Any comments or questions please contact me via Twitter. Featured image credit to Ott Tanak.

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