Hof-Finnskog 2, 21.26kilometers
Narrow and winding roads in picturesque areas mix with long straights and receptive landscapes, bringing all of the challenges of a chilly dip to a single stage. It’s fast during with loads of fast corners but bumps that’ll require good care. Driven in the format and Useful for the first time now around.

The Finn, starting a record 197th event, was second fastest through Hof-Finnskog to scale ahead of Tänak and fellow countryman and guide from 1.8sec.

“There was quite high grip in certain regions and it was slushy in others. That wasn’t maximum attack but that I had a clean run,” said Latvala.

Suninen was fastest in his Ford Fiesta to maintain second place as early leader Ott Tänak fell to third, but only 3.7sec adrift of all Latvala.

Road opener Sébastien Ogier dropped almost 30sec to detract from fifth to seventh in his Citroën C3, while Thierry Neuville fared much worse. The Belgian, second in the start sequence summoned his Hyundai i20 to drop from fourth.

Andreas Mikkelsen, driving Yaris pilot Kris Meeke, and an i20 gained by climbing to fourth and fifth.

Elfyn Evans showed a lower start position’s advantages. The Welshman was moved two places to eighth, aided by a spin for Esapekka Lappi and fastest in his Ford Fiesta.

“I got caught by a short right-hander in fifth gear. I hit a bank and almost rolled,” clarified the C3 driver.

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