Today was a perfect example to explain about Sebastien Ogier and his veteran compatriot Loeb. It takes loads of patience, perhaps even large quantities of skill combined with a super intelligent mind to take it towards the victory. Competitor after competitor, stage after stage the carnage of the gravel GP took its toll, yet Ogier was the one who fought like a knight to take a 5.2 seconds overnight deficit to a 38.1seconds lead on the penultimate day. To make story easier, all tiny details are better explained below!
A morning rally stages in a cool damp Finland @15C, with overnight rain and light drizzle still, meant slippery roads! Opening stage for the day, SS7 Jukojärvi 1 with a total stage distance of 21.9 km was the first challenge and almost everyone got through safely on the top order cars, but not so lucky with Elfyn Evans. He had to tackle with a damaged front right suspension of his Fiesta R5 rally, and fix it at the end of the stage.
SS8 Palsankylä 1 - 13.92 km, and the WRC carnage started to with Novikov's crash [yet makes it to the service later, without serious damage, amazing!]. In the process of completing the stage, he showering with gravel to the Citroen DS3 WRC driver Kris Meeke, who was quickly behind. Meeke certainly not happy, as Novikov's car blocked him, unable to overtake.
SS9 and the drama keeps coming, now it was Hanninen's mistake and a rally end to him, for the day after clipping a rock alongside the road.
SS10: No tragedies, but Meeke remarks "When I've got nobody in front I'm really, really enjoying it", hinting the frustration in SS8
SS11, marks end of road to Martin Prokop who was forced to retire after a water pump failure.
SS13 & this time Thierry Neuville picks up a front left puncture near the start, he drops nearly 20 seconds.
SS14 & it's Andreas Mikkelsen this time into trouble, shows up with his 3 wheeled Polo. Literally! He lost a rear left wheel completely off with the damper, to the floor dragging to the finish. But the drama didn't end there, quickly Mads Ostberg arrived with a front left puncture.
The young Belgian fought with the odds back to 2nd overall by the end of the day. Laudable! The same cheer goes to Kris Meeke who despite being first time in a WRC car in Finland finished the day in top 5.
Now by the end of the day, it is VW 1 & Ford 2 & 3.. Check EOD timings here. Until tomorrow, sayonara!