Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson maintained his top-ten position on the middle section of Day 2 at Neste Oil Rally Finland. The young Briton and co-driver Scott Martin lost ground in the battle with Finn Jari Ketomaa on the first stage after service but have bounced back to produce another strong performance to keep them in the fight for a points-scoring finish.

Wilson had been battling with Ketomaa for eighth place after the opening loop of stages, but he lost around 15 seconds on SS14 when he was forced to pull over and restart the car after the ignition switch on his Ford Focus RS WRC was knocked off after landing from a big jump.

The crew thought that they had clipped a rock near the end of SS16 Surkee and exercised extra caution on the last few kilometres of the stage but still produced a top-eight time giving them confidence going into the final section of the day.

For the third and final section of Day 2 the rally moves to Mänttä for a further three stages, concluding with the longest of the rally, the 29.29km Väärinmaja.

Meanwhile the Stobart team have confirmed that Wilson’s team mate Henning Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud will return to action under SupeRally conditions tomorrow morning following his retirement on SS12 today.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
“On the first stage out after service we landed hard after a jump, the ignition switch was knocked off and the engine cut out. We coasted to the side of the road, pulled over and luckily managed to restart the car, but we lost about 15 seconds. It was unfortunate as that stage was going really well up to that point. It’s difficult to judge some of the jumps and you definitely need experience here to know how fast to take them. A little difference in speed makes a big difference in how far you jump. This morning we took it quite easy over a lot of the big jumps, but this afternoon we pushed very slightly harder and it made a huge difference in how much we took off.”

Leaderboard after SS16
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen(FIN) Ford Focus RS 2h01m29.8s
2. S Loeb/D Elena (FRA) Citroën C4 +28.0s
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila (FIN) Ford Focus RS +1m08.8s
4. D Sordo/M Marti (ESP) Citroën C4 +1m10.2s
5. M Rantanen/M Lukka Ford Focus RS +3m31.4s
6. M Östberg/J Andersson (NOR) Subaru Impreza +4m13.0s
7. S Ogier/J Ingrassia (FRA) Citroën C4 +4m15.1s
8. J Ketomaa/M Stenberg (FIN) Subaru Impreza +4m30.1s
9. M Wilson/S Martin (GB) Ford Focus RS +5m12.4s
30. H Solberg/C Menkerud (NOR) Ford Focus RS +26m38.3s

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