Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) made a strong comeback after the mid-season break, as their championship contender & current leader Ott Tanak secured his fourth season victory at this year's Rally Finland (Round 9). This also happened to be Ott Tanak & Martin Jarveoja's second consecutive Rally Finland victory – the duo had won the Finnish round last year as well. Meanwhile, the final spot on the podium also went to TGR’s Jari-Matti Latvala & Miikka Anttila. It is also worth mentioning that Tanak & Jarveoja have now won three out their previous four WRC outings this season, which only goes to show the Japanese outfit's prowess this season.
The two TGR pairings were cut by Citroen Total WRT's Esapekka Lappi & Janne Ferm, which was a welcome relief for the duo as this was their best classification since Rally Sweden (Round 2 of the 2019 WRC season), where they had again finished in second place. While Latvala finished the final Ruuhimaki 2 Power Stage (SS23) 33.2 seconds behind Tanak, he was certainly in contention for the second position as he was only 7.6 seconds behind Lappi. The Citroen camp, however, did not have much to brag about as their star pair, Sebastien Ogier & Julien Ingrassia, could only manage a fifth-place finish in Round 9.
The stage classifications till the end of SS11 were a bit different, as the rally was led by TGR drivers Latvala and Kris Meeke. While Meeke was just 1.2 seconds behind Latvala in second, Lappi was hot on Meeke's tail, just 2.4 seconds behind leader Latvala. At this stage, Tanak held his fourth-place firmly. But by the end of SS14, Tanak had emerged on top while his teammate Meeke had fallen back to 14th due to a crash. From there on, the Estonian (Tanak) ended the penultimate day of the rally (end of SS19) with a 16.4 second lead over Citroen's Lappi.
The final 11.12km Ruuhimaki 2 Power Stage (SS23) was also won by the Estonian, however, only by a small margin. Tanak had some serious competition from Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT drivers Thierry Neuville & Andreas Mikkelsen, evidenced by the fact that Neuville finished just 0.6 seconds behind Tanak while Mikkelsen was behind Neuville by just 1.6 seconds (Mikkelsen finished 4th overall and was the only Hyundai driver among the top-five finishers). Therefore, by securing the maximum 30 points up for grabs, Tanak leads the 2019 championship with 180 points under his belt. This puts him 22 points clear of his nearest rival Sebastien Ogier (158 points). Meanwhile, Hyundai's Neuville sits in third with 155 points.