Who will win Rally Finland? Our verdict

With the battle for victory in Finland going down to the wire between Tänak and Rovanperä, we debate who will emerge on top

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The race is on. Ott Tänak has led Rally Finland ever since the first forest stage on Friday morning, but he’s under pressure from a closing Kalle Rovanperä.

Just 8.4 seconds splits the pair with four stages still to run on Sunday.

Twice a Finland winner, Finnish form and of course position favors Tänak, but current form would suggest Rovanperä has the edge given he’s won five of the six World Rally Championship events.

It’s a battle that could swing either way – and one you certainly don’t want to miss tomorrow – but who will prevail?

That’s the question we put to our newsdesk team Rob Hansford and Luke Barry, and conveniently their answers differed – proving just how unsure and exciting the run-in on Sunday will be.

It’s time to make your prediction. Will it be the hunter or the hunted? Tänak or Rovanperä?

Here are our writers’ arguments. Let us know who you agree with in the comments below:

Ott Tänak


I really can’t see Tänak giving up victory in Finland.

Rovanperä has clearly been trying hard to minimize the gap, and has tried to ask questions of the Hyundai driver, but every time Tänak has an answer.

On Friday night we all went to bed expecting the usual Rovanperä domination on Saturday. In the past few rallies he’s used a Saturday to carve his way back up the order, claim the rally lead and then proceed to leave everyone for dust.

But not today.


Tänak may have conceded some time to the Toyota driver over the course of the day – especially after a moment on the latter part of Saturday’s final stage – but it’s not been drastic, and he still goes into Saturday with a reasonable advantage; 8.4s to be precise.

It’s easily one of Tänak’s best rallies of the year, if not the best. The Hyundai is clearly not an equal match for the Yaris GR Rally1 and yet he’s still pulling out blistering times to match the championship leader. Times that not even Rovanperä’s own team-mates can manage.

Rovanperä will no doubt ask some tougher questions tomorrow, but as it stands, it looks like Tänak still has enough in the tank to make sure he can respond.

And with the way he’s been driving this weekend, I think it would be a surprise to see him lose it now.

– Rob Hansford

Kalle Rovanperä


Ask me this in five minutes’ time, my answer might change. There’s so many arguments to support either driver’s case, but if we’ve learned anything from the 2022 WRC season it’s that betting against Rovanperä is an extremely brave call.

Tänak has been the more impressive so far. Nobody really fancied him to challenge the Toyotas in Finland, let alone lead them throughout the entire event. The skill, and bravery, on display is simply breathtaking, and actually a rather painful reminder of how good the 2022 title race could have been if Tänak was competing with a more sorted package.

But Rovanperä’s Saturday speed cannot be discounted. Beginning the day exactly 21 seconds behind, he ends it 12.6s closer to his rival with just an 8.4s deficit.

To win, he’d need to average a 2.1s time gain on Tänak each stage which won’t be easy, but it’s not like he’s not done it before. Remember that powerstage performance in Croatia? Faced with a similar scenario, Rovanperä could be even more pumped up here with the allure of a home victory sat taunting him on the table.

What it could all come down to is which character screams the loudest in Rovanperä’s ear.

Will the angel win, reminding him that he stands to pull out an even bigger championship lead after round eight with Thierry Neuville down in fifth? Or will the devil grab hold of Rovanperä, encouraging him to shoot for that first Rally Finland victory?

Rovanperä has more to lose, and yet he also has more to gain. And he’s not been about losing so far this year. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to miss Sunday’s sprint to the finish line.

– Luke Barry