Jyväskylä (Finland) (AFP)
Estonian coach Ött Tänak (Toyota) led the Rally Finland on Saturday night before the final day, ahead of Finland's Esapekka Lappi (Citroën), who took advantage of the troubles of his compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota).
Tänak, current leader of the world championship, was spared by the hazards that hit Latvala (puncture) and Britain's Kris Meeke, the third man of Toyota, who broke his rear suspension on Thursday by hitting a stone and had to give up then he was 3rd.
Tänak took a bit of the lead in the rally and now has 16.4 seconds ahead of Lappi and 28.8 seconds over Latvala.
"It was a good day, very clean, yesterday and this morning it was very tight but now it's better," said the taciturn Estonian - who was already the winner in Finland last year - when the 19th and last special Saturday.
Frenchman Sébastien Ogier (Citroën) also had a good operation. Sick during the night from Friday to Saturday, however, he managed to keep up with the pace of the race and pointed before the last day to the 5th position at 53 seconds from Tänak but only 2.6 seconds of the 4th, the Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai).
"Honestly, I was sad today, I'm completely dead and I just want to find my bed," said the six-time world champion. "I hope I can recover to fight tomorrow" Sunday, he added.
He keeps especially at distance Thierry Neuville (Hyundai). The Belgian, currently third in the world championship behind Tänak and Ogier, was in 7th place on Saturday night at almost a minute and 20 seconds behind the leader and more than 26 seconds behind Ogier.
Another four special stages will be played on Sunday, the last of which will be the "power stage" which sees the top 5 score extra points at the world championship.
The Rally Finland is the 9th event of this championship which has 14.
© 2019 AFP