Finnish rally star Jari-Matti Latvala pulled himself closer to World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier with a victory in Rallye de France in his Volkswagen Motorsport Polo WRC.
Latvala set several fastest stage times throughout the rally, while title rival Ogier struggled with a gearbox sensor problem on stage two and a timing error on stage three, which lost the Frenchman eight minutes overall. VW driver Andreas Mikkelsen finished 44.8 seconds behind Latvala to take the second place on the podium, while British ace Kris Meeke brought his Citroen Racing DS3 home in third.
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Latvala's victory makes him the first Finn to win an asphalt WRC round since Tommi Mäkinen won the Italian round back in 1999. Speaking to reporters after the event, Latvala credits his victory to tips learned by watching videos of established tarmac ace and nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb.
The result puts the Finn within 27 points of the series leader, with up to 56 points still to claim as the series heads to Spain on October 23 and then Rally GB in mid-November.