Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sébastien Ogier has moved into the lead of Rally Finland - the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship - after the second day of competition. The Frenchman has battled hard with Mads Østberg, Thierry Neuville and Mikko Hirvonen throughout the day and while the four rivals have been split by just a handful of seconds, the luck has been with Ogier and having run without problems, he now overnights with 38.1 seconds in hand. Neuville climbed into second on the final forest stage and Østberg rounds off the provisional podium.
Today was the longest day of the event and covered two identical loops of four stages covering 148.50 competitive kilometres before returning to Jyväskylä for the final run around the Killeri super special stage. Overnight leader Neuville opted to take a steady run over this morning’s stages and was immediately overhauled by Østberg. But, like the opening day, the stage wins and rally lead swapped hands stage by stage with the Norwegian ultimately retaining the advantage after the morning loop. This afternoon, however, Ogier claimed victory in each of the repeated stages to stake his claim at the top of the leaderboard. Despite dropping to fourth during the day, Neuville climbed back up the leaderboard to second overnight, benefiting when Østberg lost nearly 30 seconds in the penultimate stage with a broken wheel rim, despite a puncture of his own.
Hirvonen remains fourth tonight. The Finn won the opening stage but then went off in SS12, hitting a bank and almost pitching the car into a roll. He was lucky to escape with the tyre off the wheel but then continued to lose time in the following stages with associated suspension damage. Kris Meeke is in an impressive fifth position but lost time when he got stuck behind Evgeny Novikov in stage eight. When Novikov went off the road, Meeke caught the Russian in the stage and was unable to pass, losing him 25 seconds. Ultimately, however, the Briton was reinstated the time later in the day and he is now just 8.1 seconds behind Hirvonen. Jarkko Nikara has made an impressive climb from 10th to sixth and Andreas Mikkelsen was hot on his heels until losing a wheel in the penultimate stage. Dani Sordo continues to trail in eighth position and the top 10 is rounded off with Novikov and Mikkelsen.