Latvala claims third Rally Sweden

Jari-Matti Latvala is a champion in Sweden for the third time.

Latvala claims third Rally Sweden

The Finn, who claimed his maiden victory here in 2008, beat Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen by 53.6sec after a tight battle through snowy forests in Sweden and Norway. Mikkelsen, who twice led the rally, secured his first WRC podium.

Third went to Mads Ostberg who finished just 5.9sec behind his fellow Norwegian to secure his fourth consecutive podium in the championship’s only true winter round.

“It’s my third win here and I’ve never won the same rally three times,” said Latvala, who was embraced at the finish of the final stage by father Jari. “It feels amazing to win here, it’s something very, very special.

“It’s a long time since my win in Greece last year. That was more about tactics and saving the car, but this is a high-speed event so it gives me confidence that I can also win high-speed rallies. I really needed a good result here,” he added.

World champion Sebastien Ogier, Mikkelsen and Latvala dominated the opening leg in their Polo R cars. When Ogier dropped more than four minutes yesterday morning after crashing into a snowbank, Mikkelsen moved to the front.

Two stages later Mikkelsen did the same and Latvala was ahead. Mikkelsen remained in close contact and they started today’s longest leg separated by 3.6sec. But when Mikkelsen plunged into the snow for a second time this morning, Latvala could relax.

“This is absolutely fantastic,” said Mikkelsen. “I really hoped for this at my home event with all my friends and family here and second is more than I could ever have dreamed of. This morning we were maybe fighting for a win but I made a small mistake and after that it was about keeping Ostberg behind us.”

Ostberg struggled for confidence initially in his first loose surface rally in a DS3, but came to terms with the car and saw off the Ford Fiesta RS cars of Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak.

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Photo by: Citroën Communication

Hirvonen finished 1min 27.4sec behind with Tanak delivering possibly the drive of the rally to take fifth after more than a year away from the championship. He was 33.6sec behind Hirvonen.

Ogier recovered from 20th to finish sixth, overhauling Henning Solberg in the penultimate stage. Pontus Tidemand, Craig Breen and Kris Meeke completed the leaderboard, Meeke bouncing back after losing seven minutes and sixth place when he slid into the snow this morning.

Elfyn Evans was on course for ninth until rolling his Fiesta RS in the final stage, while Martin Prokop retired this morning when he went off and became stuck in the snow.

Hyundai duo Juho Hanninen and Thierry Neuville finished down the order after respectively damaging a wheel and breaking the front right suspension on their i20 cars yesterday and Robert Kubica was 24th after three lengthy spells in the snow.

Round three is Rally Mexico which is based in Leon on 6 - 9 March.

WRC.com

shares
comments
Kubica completes a challenging Swedish debut

Previous article

Kubica completes a challenging Swedish debut

Next article

Bronze medal for Mads Østberg at Rally Sweden

Bronze medal for Mads Østberg at Rally Sweden
Load comments
How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Prime

How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Prime

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Prime

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win.

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021