European Champion Esapekka Lappi (FIN) was even in the lead on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, but lost a lot of time ( SS7 ) after colliding with a stone.
"The boulders at the edge of the track really are massive - and unfortunately one of them was my downfall. I'm really annoyed about making that mistake," said Lappi.
"Flying Finn" Esapekka Lappi topped the times list on Sardinia on no less than seven occasions – including twice on the "Monte Lerno" stage, which, at 42.22 kilometres, was the longest stage of the rally and featured the legendary "Micky’s Jump". The drivers fly up to 40 metres through the air after this crest, and Lappi left many of the higher-spec WRC cars in his wake on the second run of "Monte Lerno", finishing fifth overall. "The ŠKODA Fabia R5 is very quick and we are still yet to tap into its full potential. That makes it all the more bitter that a collision with a stone cost us any chance of a top position in the overall standings," said the 24-year-old.
Lappi and his co-driver Janne Ferm lost almost half an hour as a result of necessary repairs. However, they then launched a captivating fightback from 26th place to finish an impressive ninth in the WRC 2 standings at the Rally Italy. That was sufficient to earn ŠKODA’s regular driver in the World Championship another two points towards the overall WRC 2 standings.
The next challenge on the grand WRC 2 stage comes in the form of the Rally Poland on 2nd to 5th July.
1. Protasov/Cherepin (UA/UA), Ford Fiesta RRC 4:40:52.0 hrs
2. Andreucci/Andreussi (I/I), Peugeot 208 T16 + 0:05.6 min
3. Kopecký/Dresler (CZ/CZ), ŠKODA Fabia R5 + 2:44.0 min
4. Al Kuwari/Clark (Q/GB), Ford Fiesta RRC + 6:34.7 min
5. Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Q/F), Ford Fiesta RRC + 6:42.6 min
9. Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA Fabia R5 + 26:30.3 min
|05/26/2015||Lappi and Ferm second in WRC 2 at the Rally de Portugal|
European Champion Esapekka Lappi (FIN) second, and team-mate Pontus Tidemand (S) in third: ŠKODA celebrated a brilliant WRC debut with its new Fabia R5 at the Rally de Portugal.
Esapekka, co-driver Janne Ferm and new Skoda Fabia R5 showed signs of its great potential with its first five stage best times in the WRC 2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship. There was excitement once again in the battle for the win in WRC 2 on the final day, when Lappi finished 41.0 seconds faster than front-runner Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q) on the penultimate special stage "Vieira do Minho". However, the Dakar winner brought home a 12.0-second advantage over European Champion Lappi in the overall standings.
- We are delighted with second place, after all it was our first ever rally in the ŠKODA Fabia R5. Our new tool was convincing in all conditions here in Portugal – whether on gravel or on the short asphalt sections, said "Flying Finn" Lappi, full of praise, who got the fastest time in the WRC 2 category on five stages.
- It's brilliant starting in the WRC again. The atmosphere was fantastic. Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined all 15 of the special stages at the Rally Portugal, with the absolute highlight being the legendary "Fafe" stage with its massive jump on Sunday. Lappi ended the day with another best time here.
At the next FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) event from 11 to 14 June on Sardinia,alongside European Champion Lappi, reigning Asia-Pacific Champion Jan Kopecký will also take the wheel of a Fabia R5.
- After the successful debut at the Rally Portugal, we are already looking forward to the next challenge. After all, we are only just getting started with the Fabia R5 project and still have plenty of work ahead of us, said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek after the first WRC start for his team in more than two years.
1. Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Q/F), Ford Fiesta RRC 3:41:35.3 hrs.
2. Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA Fabia R5 + 0:12.0 min.
3. Tidemand/Axelsson (S/S), ŠKODA Fabia R5 + 0:37.8 min.
4. Maurin/Klinger (F/F), Ford Fiesta RCC + 2:51.2 min.
5. Lefebvre/Prévot (F/F), Citroën DS3 R5 + 2:59.6 min.