The former M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver Esapekka Lappi will be returning to the top level class of WRC for Rally Finland next weekend in a fifth Toyota Yaris WRC rented by his team RTE-Motorsport in hopes to get promising results.
Lappi has only competed in two rounds of WRC2 so far this season after stepping out from WRC come at the end of last season, and won both of the rounds, first the Finnish winter round of Arctic Lapland Rally in February and later Rally de Portugal in May.
Now he will be back in a Toyota Yaris WRC and will be run by his private team but with support by Toyota personnel, in a car that he won the Finnish gravel grand prix as it was nicknamed back in 2017.
“The car feels really nice. There have been some changes, but basically it is the same car which I drove – so I was able to feel comfortable in it.” Lappi said after his first tests with the car.
“The speed is incredible though. It was so fast. The speed you can take through the corners is amazing and this is what takes the time – to build that confidence. The speed was good from the test road, but that’s not the same as the first stage. This is the trick, to take the confidence and the speed from the test to the stage.”
“We changed one of the roads in the test and when I went to the new road, I could feel I was hesitating – this is what tells me it’s not possible to win this week. If you are hesitating, you won’t win this rally. It’s not sensible to think I can come back after being away from the [World Rally] car for 10 months and fight to win in a rally like this one.”
It is tipped that Lappi could be making a part-time return to Toyota Gazoo Racing and will be sharing the third or fourth car with someone else.
Rally Finland which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this season is being held later this season due to the lockdowns on 1-3 October.