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Two top-five finishes in Finnish rally are not enough to ease Citroën’s frustration, after the eighth round from 13 this season. A bad luck and a 360° spin restrained local Mikko Hirvonen to fourth, ahead of Dani Sordo, in an event Sébastien won twice at the wheel of the DS3 WRC in the last two years.

1000 frustrations rally

WRCfinl2The facts
Top of the qualifications, Hirvonen was on par, performance-wise, with eventual winner Sébastien Ogier on VW Polo and especially both Ford Fiestas of Thierry Neuville (2nd) and Mads Ostberg (3rd). A couple of twists prevented him from climbing on another podium on his home rally he won in 2009. On Thursday, to meet TV broadcast requirements, starting sequence was altered, with more time between starts and Citröen driver lost 16 secs due to a sudden downpour. On Friday, in the 12th of the 23 special stages, he hit the embankment before spinning heavily.

The number
169. The number of jumps – the trademark of the Finnish rally – in the Ouninpohja (33 km). This gravel event is also among the fastest of the season with an average of 123 km/h in a forest surrounding. It usually crowns only the braves.

The sentence
“Not having any of our cars on the podium is frustrating for the whole team, especially given the level of performance shown by Mikko at the start of the rally.” Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal.

The story
With Khalid Al Qassimi kept away from competition this weekend, Chris Meeke was given his first opportunity to drive in WRC for the first time in 18 months. Northern-Irishman wowed the crowds, sitting fifth until SS22, when he rolled his car.

Next up
Germany (22-25 August, asphalt)