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Ford driver and local boy Jari-Matti Latvala will take a 9.1-second lead into the final day of his home rally after pulling away from Petter Solberg in the rally of Finland. Early leader Mikko Hirvonen made a dramatic exit, when he rolled his Ford in a heavy crash.
Home hero Juha Kankkunen was an excellent seventh - as the 51-year-old made a one-off appearance in a Ford.
Former Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen was eighth.
World championship leader France's Sebastien Loeb found it a struggle running first on the road and finished fourth, while teammate Sebastien Ogier, on his debut for the factory Citroen team, was a solid third.
Hirvonen's spell at the top of the leaderboard came to an end in abrupt fashion on stage four. He lost control of his Focus over a jump and rolled his car.
Khalid Al Qassimi and Henning Solberg also rolled their Fords into retirement on Friday's stage.
Hirvonen's retirement promoted 2003 world champion Petter Solberg into first place in his privately-run Citroen, but by the end of stage six he had been overhauled by Latvala, who slowly increased his lead to hold a 9.1 second advantage. Dani Sordo driving for the Citroen Junior Team ended fifth, with Matthew Wilson sixth.