Ott Tänak was fastest out of the blocks to head a Hyundai Motorsport 1-2 in Friday morning’s shakedown at Secto Automotive Rally Finland.
The Estonian posted the benchmark time in his third and final run through the superfast 4.04km Vesala speed test close to the Jyväskylä service park. He ended three-tenths ahead of i20 World Rally Car team-mate Craig Breen.
Championship leader Sébastien Ogier, who could clinch his eighth world title on the rollercoaster gravel roads of central Finland this weekend, was third fastest in a Toyota Yaris World Rally Car. The Frenchman was 0.9s off Tänak’s pace.
Soft compound Pirelli Scorpion tyres were the choice of all the leading drivers as the thermometer showed a chilly 6°C as the stage got underway.
Breen set the pace on the first pass and lowered the mark further on his second run, before Tänak moved to the top of the timesheets.
Thierry Neuville made it three Hyundais in the top four, 1.1s behind Tänak. Kalle Rovanperä, celebrating his 21st birthday today, was a further tenth back in another Yaris with team-mate Elfyn Evans completing the top six.
Gus Greensmith’s morning was spoiled when a misfiring engine in his Ford Fiesta World Rally Car hampered his final preparations in his third run. The Briton replaced the spark plugs after the stage before returning to service to allow the M-Sport Ford team to take a closer look.
He completed a further two runs before his team continued their inspections, although it is understood the problem will not prevent him starting the rally this afternoon. Greensmith was 10th fastest, 0.2s behind team-mate Adrien Fourmaux.