Volkswagen Takes Top Three Spots in Driver’s Standings After Finland

The 80th running of the much loved Finnish Rally was by no means an easy one for Volkswagen Motorsport, but after all was said an done the team’s three drivers are now in first, second, and third in the driver’s championship.

The Finnish rally ended best for Jari-Matti Latvala, who often does well at his home rally. The Finn set the average speed record last year and was hoping for a good result to propel him upwards in the driver’s standings.

Latvala earned that result, finishing second, behind Citreon’s Kris Meeke. The result gets him from fourth to third in the driver’s championship, rounding out the top three.

“Second place and a point on the Power Stage is a very good haul,” said Latvala after the rally. “It is always very special to drive here on home soil. We now move on to the asphalt season, which was remarkably good to me last year. We must now back up this weekend’s performance in Germany.”

Rally Finland 2016

Sebastien Ogier, unfortunately, was unable to score points this weekend, the first time he has failed to do so this season. The championship leader was saddled with the role of sweeper. As the WRC points leader, he has to start rallies first, which is a major disadvantage on gravel roads.

Heading into a hairpin bend on Friday, Ogier slid off the road and into a ditch. With the help of some fans watching the race, they managed to get the Polo R WRC back onto the road, but only after losing 16 minutes. Fortunately for him, his lead was big enough that he still has a 45 point buffer over the competition.

Rally Finland 2016

Andreas Mikkelsen, at that point, was in third place in the rally, and in second place on the season. Unfortunately, though, he was saddled with sweeping duties after the Ogier’s off, and the difficult conditions meant he slipped down into seventh place. He still scored points, and as a result hangs onto second place for the season.

“All in all, Anders and I can be happy with seventh place,” said Mikkelsen after the race. “It was difficult once we suddenly had to open the route on Saturday. We did our very best, but starting first really did not make life easy. I was driving on the very limit all the time on some of the stages, but my times were still low.”

Fortunately for Volkswagen Motorsport, the starting order will be less of an issue for the next three rallies, all of which are on tarmac. The next rally is in Germany, and starts on August 18th

After all is said and done, Ogier (143 pts) is in first, Mikkelsen (98 pts) is in second, and Latvala (87 pts) leapfrogs past Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon (84 pts) and into third place overall this season.

Rally Finland 2016