Scandinavia has been a good hunting ground for Proton Motorsports this year. After winning his home rally in Sweden earlier this year, PG Andersson has scored a second SWRC victory for himself and Proton by winning the Neste Oil Rally Finland. With this win, he tops the Super 2000 World Rally Championship standings. Proton’s other driver, home boy Juha Salo, made it a yellow podium by securing third.

There was late drama in the rally, when Craig Breen crashed heavily on the first Ouninpohja run after starting the penultimate stage with a lead of 13.3 seconds. But it’s good to hear that Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle were uninjured despite their Ford Fiesta S2000 rolling several times.

Breen’s crash promoted Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi to second and Proton’s Salo to third. Salo looked set to make it two Neos on the podium on his debut for Proton, but a mistake on stage 14 damaged a rear wheel and dropped him behind Al-Rajhi. That was before Breen crashed out.

It wasn’t smooth sailing for PG either. The Swede was fighting for victory when a driveshaft failure on stage 16 handed the initiative to Breen, before the Proton man’s fortunes improved late on.

“I really wanted to win but when the driveshaft broke I thought it would be difficult to beat him. I saw he had crashed but was out of the car and okay. It was a shame for him because he had done a fantastic job this weekend but we really needed this victory because it’s been a long and difficult season since we won in Sweden. The car was running well and although we were not the quickest on the stages we played a clever race and it paid off at the end,” PG said.

Hayden Paddon, who led the SWRC standings before Finland, failed to restart from a broken engine on Friday. That bad luck, coupled with PG’s win, means he now trails the Swede by six points in the title fight. SWRC action resumes on Wales Rally GB next month.