Kris Meeke flies to a fantastic podium finish in Finland

Britain’s Kris Meeke achieved his third podium of the season on the incredibly technical Rally FinlandWelshman Elfyn Evans finished a superb seventh on his first attempt at the ultra-fast Finnish stagesThe FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) blasted back in to action after the summer break with round eight, the Neste Oil Rally Finland.The classic Rally Finland, often described as rallying’s ‘spiritual home’, is famous for its stomach-churning jumps and is one of the fastest and most challenging rallies on the calendar.Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke delivered a world class drive through the Finnish forests, flying over the many jumps and flat-out over the high-speed stages, claiming his first stage win along the way. His impressive performance in the Citroen DS3 WRC took him to second place on Saturday ahead of World Champion Sébastien Ogier. On the final day Meeke was unable to protect his position with Ogier powering through to second, but he and co-driver Paul Nagle managed to hold on to the final podium place finishing a fantastic third position on the exhilarating Rally Finland. Rookie Welshman Elfyn Evans had a consistent drive on his first visit to the Finnish fixture in his M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, gathering speed and confidence as the rally went on. Despite hitting a large hole on Saturday causing a puncture, he and co-driver Daniel Barritt were comfortably in the top ten and were showing great pace on Finland’s legendary stages. The duo climbed the leaderboard to finish in seventh position, a fantastic result on their first visit to one of the most technical rallies on the calendar that demands real bravery and commitment from the drivers.Very few drivers from outside of Scandinavia have claimed victory on Rally Finland and 2014 was no different as Jari-Matti Latvala took the win at his home event. His Volkswagen team-mate Sébastien Ogier finished second ahead of Britain’s Kris Meeke.Both British drivers, Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans, return to action in the ADAC Rallye Deutschland on 21 – 24 August. The WRC season culminates with the only British round, Wales Rally GB on 13 – 16 November 2014. The Brits are already looking forward to competing in their home event and tickets are on sale now at 2013 prices. For more information and tickets, please visit: Meeke said:“It’s a pretty special result, this is one of the biggest rallies of them all, so it’s great to get a podium here. But we’re still not near perfection; Jari-Matti has been the epitome of perfection in driving a rally car this weekend. Until I get there I’ll keep working on it. But I am really delighted with a podium.”Elfyn Evans said:“Before this weekend I had only ever completed the full distance in an R2 car so to come here for the first time in a world rally car was a bit of an eye opener! There’s no comparison between the two. To have the opportunity to drive a car like this on these stages is absolutely incredible.“This is such a unique event that there is an element of specialist pacenotes and specialist driving styles. Everything we’ve learnt this weekend will be very important for the future and I’m sure we’ll be a lot stronger when we come back as a result.”