Ott Tanak tops shakedown as WRC returns to action in Finland

The World Rally Championship returns to action this weekend at Rally Finland following the summer break and it was Estonian Ott Tanak who topped the final shakedown on Thursday morning.

The Toyota driver and championship leader laid down a marker on the 4.26 km Vesala special stage, posting an overall time of 1:53.8s to lead Hyundai's Thierry Neuville by 0.3s.

Tänak opened his account with the fastest time in his Yaris on the first run and then shaved more than a second off that in the next pass over the smooth gravel roads. He posted the day's benchmark time in his third and final run.

"Shakedown was good, no worries," he said. "We had a good pre-event test and a rally in Estonia and we have been preparing as well as possible. At the moment it’s all looking good so I believe it should be fine for the weekend, but it will be a big fight."

Neuville was the quickest of three Hyundai i20's in the top four as Craig Breen, who makes his WRC debut with Hyundai this weekend, was third, 0.8s adrift, followed by Andreas Mikkelsen in fourth place, a tenth behind the Irishman.

M-Sport Ford’s Teemu Suninen was fifth in a Fiesta with reigning champion Sebastien Ogier, in an upgraded Citroen C3, and Yaris team-mates Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala tied for sixth.

# Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Ott Tänak Toyota Yaris 1min 53.8sec
2. Thierry Neuville Hyundai i20 +0.3sec
3. Craig Breen Hyundai i20 +0.8sec
4. Andreas Mikkelsen Hyundai i20 +0.9sec
5. Teemu Suninen Ford Fiesta +1.0sec
6= Sébastien Ogier Citroën C3 +1.2sec
6= Kris Meeke Toyota Yaris +1.2sec
6= Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota Yaris +1.2sec
9. Esapekka Lappi Citroën C3 +1.5sec
10. Gus Greensmith Ford Fiesta +3.5sec