Ott Tänak finished third overall in the WRC Rally Finland morning shakedown run. Rally Finland runs from today, Thursday, to Sunday inclusive, and Tänak will be looking to uphold the success he had at the event last year – when he won for Hyundai.
Now driving for M-Sport Ford, the Estonian lies fourth in the drivers' table going into round nine of the 2023 championship, eight points behind third-placed man Thierry Neuville, his former teammate at Hyundai.
Tänak will also be looking to atone for a disappointing show at his own home rally the weekend before last, where he finished eighth.
Welshman Elfyn Evans is in second place for Toyota, with 115 points going into Rally Finland, but it is local hero and 2022 champion Kalle Rovanperä, also with Toyota, who will be commanding much of the attention.
The latter two drivers, Evans and Rovanperä, were in fact the only drivers to finish ahead of Tänak after three outings at this morning's test, which started just after 9.00 a.m.
Noted for its fast gravel roads, the 320.56km race around the central Finnish city of Jyvaskylä is divided across 22 stages, with the first stage proper taking place Thursday evening.
Nine crews are taking part in the top-tier WRC category, with three other Finns competing before a home crowd: Hyundai's Teemu Suninen and Esapekka Lappi, and veteran driver Jari-Matti Latvala racing for Toyota.
Two more Estonians, Robert Virves (Ford) and Georg Linnamäe (Hyundai), are racing in the WRC2 category
The evening stage starts at 7.05 p.m. local time.
The full itinerary of stages is below (local Finnish times in 24-hour clock).
Thursday, August 3
9.01 – Test stage (4.48 km) COMPLETED
19.05 – SS1 Harju 1 (3.48 km)
Friday, August 4
8.05 - SS2 Laukaa 1 (11.78 km)
9.03 - SS3 Lankamaa 1 (14.21 km)
10.21 - SS4 Myhinpää 1 (15.51 km)
11.35 - SS5 Halttula 1 (9.14 km)
14.32 - SS6 Laukaa 2 (11.78 km)
15.30 - SS7 Lankamaa 2 (14.21 km)
16.48 - SS8 Myhinpää 2 (15.51 km)
18.05 - SS9 Halttula 2 (9.14 km)
20.05 - SS10 Harju 2 (3.48 km)
Saturday, August 5
8.05 - SS11 Västilä 1 (18.94 km)
9.05 - SS12 Päijälä 1 (20.19 km)
10.05 - SS13 Rapsula 1 (20.56 km)
11.05 - SS14 Vekkula 1 (20.65 km)
15.35 - SS15 Västilä 2 (18.94 km)
16.35 - SS16 Päijäla 2 (20.19 km)
17.32 - SS17 Rapsula 2 (20.56 km)
18.35 - SS18 Vekkula 2 (20.65 km)
Sunday, August 6
7.53 - SS19 Moksi-Sahloinen 1 (16.56 km)
9.05 - SS20 Himos-Jämsä 1 (9.26 km)
10.30 - SS21 Moksi-Sahloinen 2 (16.56 km)
13.15 - SS22 Himos-Jämsä 2 (9.26 km)
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: ERR Sport