Find out more about our subscriptions
You are on the classic version of Autosport. Visit to see our new site.

Rally Finland WRC: Neuville in early lead from Toyota's Tanak/Meeke

Thierry Neuville Hyundai Rally Finland WRC 2019

Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville took an early lead on Rally Finland after winning the opening Harju superspecial by 0.7 seconds from points leader Ott Tanak.

Tanak, who won last year's event, topped the morning shakedown from Neuville and had been marginally up through the opening split, but lost time towards the end of the short 1.4-mile stage based in the centre of Jyvaskyla.

His Toyota team-mate and 2016 winner Kris Meeke was third quickest in his Yaris WRC, albeit 1.2s adrift of Neuville - who completed the stage in 1m47.3s.

Sebastien Ogier, who earlier on Thursday affirmed he will step away from the WRC at the end of his current Citroen contract in 2020, was a further tenth of a second in arrears, setting the fourth-fastest time.

Neuville's Hyundai stablemate Andreas Mikkelsen was 2.2s off the pace in fifth, having bemoaned a "couple of mistakes" during his run.

Craig Breen, Teemu Suninen and Jari-Matti Latvala share sixth place after setting identical times. The trio lie just 2.4s off the leading time of Neuville.

Breen, making his first start of the season in what is for now a one-off appearance, was the first of the WRC cars to enter the stage and set an impressive benchmark on his first competitive outing in the i20.

Suninen and Latvala each finished ahead of fellow Finn Esapekka Lappi in the Citroen C3.

Lappi is currently ninth, 3.1s off the pace, while Gus Greensmith was the slowest WRC runner in 11th, on only his second outing in the main class.

WRC2 Pro points leader Kalle Rovanpera completed the top 10 in his Skoda Fabia R5, with Greensmith and WRC2 runner Pierre-Louis Loubet's Fabia splitting the Rovanpera and nearest Pro rival Eerik Pietarainen.

Leading positions after SS1

1Thierry Neuville, N.GilsoulHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai1m47.3s-
2Ott Tanak, M.JarveojaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota1m48.0s0.7s
3Kris Meeke, S.MarshallToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota1m48.5s1.2s
4Sebastien Ogier, J.IngrassiaCitroen Total WRTCitroen1m48.6s1.3s
5Andreas Mikkelsen, A.JagerHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai1m49.5s2.2s
6Jari-Matti Latvala, M.AnttilaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota1m49.7s2.4s
6Craig Breen, P.NagleHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai1m49.7s2.4s
6Teemu Suninen, J.LehtinenM-Sport Ford WRTFord1m49.7s2.4s
9Esapekka Lappi, J.FermCitroen Total WRTCitroen1m50.4s3.1s
10Kalle Rovanpera, J.HalttunenSkoda MotorsportSkoda1m52.1s4.8s
11Gus Greensmith, E.EdmondsonM-Sport Ford WRTFord1m52.7s5.4s

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed