For Rally Sweden this weekend, the Finnish duo of Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will be returning to the top category of the FIA World Rally Championship after one year hiatus from the championship.
As Rally Sweden is not part of the reigning world champion Sébastien Ogier‘s part-time program, the Finn will be sharing the seat with the Frenchman this year, with Sweden marking Lappi’s return to Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT.
Having previously driving for the team in 2018 with one WRC win to his name, Lappi moved over to M-Sport Ford World Rally Team for two seasons and last year he took part in the WRC2 category where he won some rounds, in particular his home rally of Arctic Lapland Rally which replaced Rally Sweden.
He also rented a Toyota Yaris WRC for his second home rally of Rally Finland in August, where he received support by the Toyota squad. After the success there, the rumours start to spread about Lappi was offered a seat in 2022 for the team which got confirmed some weeks later.
With a new car and a new rally location of Umeå, Lappi is excited to start his 2022 campaign and believes the pace will be there: “I am very excited about this moment. To be competing at the highest level once more is something I have been looking forward to for a long time. It has felt very natural to be working with the team again over the last few weeks and through testing.”
“My feeling in the GR YARIS Rally1 was already quite good from the beginning and it’s been getting better step by step. I think the events I did with a Rally2 car last year are helping me a lot to understand how best to drive these cars. Rally Sweden is an event I have always enjoyed and I have always been competitive there. We need to remember that it’s been five months since my last rally, but I believe we can be on the pace and I want to fight for the podium – that’s my minimum target. It won’t be easy but I feel it’s possible.”