Toyota WRC rookie Lappi takes Finland lead
WRC Rally Finland

Toyota WRC rookie Lappi takes Finland lead

World Rally Car rookie Esapekka Lappi claimed the Rally Finland lead from Toyota team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala during Friday afternoon's loop.

Lappi had been inching ever closer to Latvala through the morning and though they started the afternoon with identical times on the Aanekoski-Valtra stage, that only briefly postponed Lappi's progress to the front.

Four straight stage wins thereafter took him past Latvala and he ended the day with a 4.4-second lead.

Finnish drivers fill the top three at present, with M-Sport's Teemu Suninen - in only his second World Rally Car start - establishing himself in a comfortable third.

Toyota's third driver Juho Hanninen is 6.1s behind Craig Breen's Citroen in fifth, having had to tread carefully after damaging his rear suspension on a rock just as he moved up to fourth on the Lankamaa stage.

A makeshift fix, which left the car's left-rear wheel still notably askew, was sufficient for Hanninen to continue at a competitive pace for the rest of the afternoon.

Mads Ostberg had finished the morning in third, but had a troubled afternoon grappling with handling problems that he initially thought were due to a suspension breakage, then perhaps a differential issue instead.

He remained puzzled but picked up his pace and ended the day a tenth ahead of Elfyn Evans in sixth.

With Sebastien Ogier out due to his heavy morning crash, his World Rally Championship title rival Thierry Neuville had an open goal.

But Hyundai has been off the pace all day, and all the muted Neuville had to celebrate was getting ahead of Kris Meeke for eighth when bent steering from an impact with a rock slowed the Citroen slightly and a fastest time on the short and unrepresentative mostly-asphalt Harju evening stage.

Neuville is the only Hyundai driver in the top 10 - Hayden Paddon having broken his suspension in the morning and Dani Sordo having been pushed back to 11th by Ott Tanak, who was on a charge after damaging a tyre while leading in the early stages.

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