Meeke claims historic Rally Finland win


Kris Meeke made history by becoming the first British driver to win the Rally Finland after dominating the four-day race.

Meeke opened up a 41-second advantage on the penultimate day in his Citroen DS 3 and although local hero Jari-Matti Latvala clawed back some time he had to settle for second place, 29.1 secs adrift of the Northern Irishman.

While Latvala missed out on a third Finland win in a row in the quickest round of the World Rally Championship, Meeke, only competing on a part-time basis this season, was able to celebrate back-to-back victories following his success in Portugal last time out.

Meeke's triumph was only the sixth by a non-Nordic driver in the 65-year history of the Rally Finland, while Republic of Ireland racer Craig Breen (Volkswagen Polo R.) sealed his first podium finish.

Breen was a minute and 12.2secs behind Meeke, who led for the vast majority of the event on the gravel.

Thierry Neuville was back in fourth, but claimed three bonus points after steering his Hyundai i20 to victory in the final power stage with Hayden Paddon second behind the Frenchman and finishing fifth overall.

Championship leader Sebastien Ogier was unable to add to his points tally, but Andreas Mikkelsen could only reduce the deficit to 45 points and Latvala is a further 11 behind in third place.