Ogier leads on Finland first day

Finnish driver Juho Hanninen is best of the rest in seventh in his Ford vehicle.

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While a crash also saw Hayden Paddon retire, with an alternator problem putting Robert Kubica out of contention after a strong Thursday for the Polish driver.

It broke his car’s steering arm at high speed and sent it hurtling into the trees, rolling over itself twice.

After the service break, Meeke was still facing some issues with his auto, but the British driver won SS7 and was a full three seconds up on Latvala.

Meeke did report at one point he felt that he had lost partial drive with his Citroen, yet he was the only serious challenger to Ogier and his team-mates. He had moved up from 11th after the opening super special stage to sit fifth overall after five stages.

On Facebook, Paddon said: “Not the way we wanted to end our day – crashing on SS6”.

“We had a decent morning and although it was hard to find grip and confidence, we were continually making changes that we hoped would have benefitted us in the afternoon loop”.

Behind the leading two was Kris Meeke, who was the only driver able to keep up with the Volkswagens in the early stages, being 10.6s behind in the morning.

“Germany will be a different kettle of fish being back on the tarmac, but it’s a surface I have to learn more about and get more experience of”. “The front end of my vehicle is still wandering, it has a mind of its own, but I can cope with it – in the corners it follows the ruts”.

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Speaking about Saturday’s remaining stages, defending champion Ogier, who won the event in 2013, said that his ability to attack will depend on the weather conditions.

Jari-Matti Latvala leaps and bounds ahead of Sebastien Ogier