Updated: Sunday, 03 August 2014 22:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Latvala wins Rally of Finland, closes gap on Ogier

Jari-Matti Latvala cut Volkswagen Polo teammate and reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier's championship lead by completing victory in the Rally of Finland on Sunday.


Latvala wins Rally of Finland, closes gap on Ogier

Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala hugs a member of his team and celebrating the victory of the FIA World Rally Championship during the podium ceremony in Jyvaskyla, central Finland, on August 3, 2014 - by Roni Rekomaa

It was the third victory of the year for the 29-year-old Finn after taking the world rally championship races in Sweden and Argentina.

He has cut Frenchman Ogier's lead in this year's championship to 44 points with five rallies remaining.

Latvala went into the final day with a 3.4 second lead over Ogier and extended it to 3.6 seconds to take his home rally for a second time.

However, it was not without problems as Latvala had struggled with his brakes on Saturday.

"It was so hard to take this victory. I had a fantastic feeling with the driving but when I had the brake problem yesterday I was in a difficult position," he said. 

"I was so close to losing the victory but I fought back. I was nervous today but managed to hold it together."

Britain's Kris Meeke in a Citroen DS3 came third more than 50 seconds behind the winner.

"It's a great result after a good fight. Today Jari was really flying," said Ogier on Twitter.

Meeke earnt his third podium finish of the season.

"A podium is pretty special on the biggest rally of all. But we're still not near perfection yet," he said. 

"Jari-Matti was the epitome of perfection all weekend in how to drive a rally car on these roads. Until I get there and try to win this rally some day, we'll have to keep trying for perfection."

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