Surkee had several rhythm changes which challenged drivers’ abilities to adapt. Wide roads contrasted with narrower sections, with rocks lining the roadside in the latter.Three out of three for Jari-Matti Latvala as the leader completed a hat-trick of stage wins on Saturday morning at Neste Oil Rally Finland.
The Finn was quickest by 4.1sec in his Volkswagen Polo R to widen the gap between himself and team-mate Sébastien Ogier to 29.0sec.
“I like this stage, it’s my favourite of the rally. It’s very technical and the big road is very, very fast,” said Latvala.
Eighth-placed Elfyn Evans gave himself a small scare after a brush with the scenery in his Ford Fiesta RS. “I clipped something early on at a corner and I thought we might have a puncture but it was OK,” said the Welshman.
All the drama in this stage came in WRC 2. Leader Jari Ketomaa dropped almost 3min 30sec after stopping to change a puncture on his Fiesta R5, a task complicated when the car fell off the jack. Third-placed Sébastien Chardonnet crashed his Citroen DS3 after 5km.
Karl Kruuda now leads the category by 2min 37.6sec from Ketomaa, with Ott Tänak 42.8sec behind in third.