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
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021