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Day 1 Concludes, Quite a Bit of Drama on the Stages at Rally Finland - 2013

Sebastien Ogier opened the first stage win, Latvala came close in second, while Mikko clocked third quickest. The second stage, Torit...

Sebastien Ogier opened the first stage win, Latvala came close in second, while Mikko clocked third quickest. The second stage, Torittu 1 got dramatic to VW boys after a bit of drama at the top 2 positions, as Ogier slipped down to get out 5th fastest, and Latvala hit a rock damaging the left-rear suspension and bled a lot of time finishing 35th.

Latvala narrates, "It happened just before the road widened, on a right hand corner over a crest," explained the Finn. "The car lifted and went wide and we hit a stone on the outside which broke the rear suspension." One man's agony is another man's opportunity, M-Sport's Fiesta WRC driver Thierry Neuville literally flew through the stage to claim the stage win, equalling Mikko on the top of the overall leadership status.

In SS3 Koukunmaa, Ogier took the stage victory, but was not enough to reclaim his top overall position. Neuville was very much behind Ogier with under a second and maintained his top rank. The impared VW pair with four more stages to complete without any service, Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila worked on to repair their car frantically. Later, the duo checked into SS3 being 28 minutes late, incurring a 4min 40sec penalty and also adding another vital three minutes after carefully cruising through the stage to finish the day.
Latvala realised that the suspension was getting worse and decided to call it a day at the end of SS4. With the lost advantage of another 2m30s in the repeat of the SS4 Torittu 2, it was inevitable to save the car for atleast tomorrow's action in Rally 2. It was the turn of stage win to Mikko in SS4 and to move upwards to equal first overall held by Neuville, while Ogier slipped to 3rd.

SS5 was the most dramatic, with showers in the middle of the stage, left the downhill part of the stage rutted and filled with water. Mikko lost nearly 16seconds and was left fuming with the situation, after dropping to 5th overall. The situation was almost same with most of the competition, who most of them barely racing in the narrow rainy gravel road section. Ogier, Neuville and most of them experienced fog inside the cabin due to steam arising from the drenched hot parts of the car.

Killeri was the celebrity super special, with Tommi Makinen entertaining the crowd with the classic Mitsubishi Evo3 Grp A rally car. Here again, Neuville took the stage victory and is the overnight leader of he pack. Ogier finished the day at second overall and Mads Ostberg in third. That being two fords in top-3, M-Sport boss should be a happy man.

In WRC-2 category, Jari Ketomaa leads the pack with Robert Kubica under 24 seconds deficit, while Elfyn Evans is right under the former F1 driver nose, a close 2 seconds short.

The action starts tomorrow morning, with SS7 Jukojärvi 1 at 21.9 km, it is one of the longest for tomorrow. Until tomorrow, Adios!

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