Parts of the track on the first day of the Rally Germany wound through picturesque vineyards with tricky hairpin bends on slippery asphalt. And it was one of these slow bends that proved to be the demise of WRC 2 overall front-runner Esapekka Lappi (FIN).
- It was a real blow. I was in second gear on a turn with dirt on the track and slipped off the road completely. I can only apologise to the entire ŠKODA Motorsport team, said Lappi.
Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) shone at the ninth event of the FIA World Rally Championship season with seven best times in WRC 2. A mistake on the second special stage at the Rally Germany put paid to any hopes of a top result.
- After this mistake we were able to gain valuable experience here. We will be back on the attack in the next races and we will do better, said Lappi.
Nasser Al-Attiyah regained the championship lead by finishing fourth. The Qatari held a two-point advantage over Esapekka Lappi.
1. Kopecký/Dresler (CZ/CZ), ŠKODA Fabia R5 3:47:18.8 hrs.
2. Camilli/Veillas (F/F), Ford Fiesta R5 + 4:13.8 min.
3. Giordano/Sarreaud (F/F), Citroën DS3 S2000 + 6:14.7 min.
4. Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Q/F), ŠKODA Fabia R5 + 6:36.5 min.
5. Breen/Scott (IRL/GB), Peugeot 208 T16 R5 + 6:54.0 min.
|08/03/2015||Lappi wins in Finland to take WRC 2 lead|
Esapekka Lappi (FIN) moved to the top of the overall standings in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2), courtesy of a dominant win on home soil at the Rally Finland. After a dazzling display at "Formula One in the Forest", the "Flying Finn" and co-driver Janne Ferm (FIN) triumphed ahead of the second ŠKODA works team of Pontus Tidemand/Emil Axelsson (S/S).
"I am so happy and proud to win my home rally. It is really special to win in front of so many rally fans, family, friends and sponsors. We drove perfectly, had perfect pace notes and a perfect car, " said 24-year old Lappi.
He took the lead on Friday morning and built a strong advantage over team-mate Pontus Tidemand.
"We were able to stay in control. Like in Poland it went exactly to plan. The only target was to push a bit on Friday and see how it goes. The others couldn't match our speed. There was no need to take any risks but we kept up the fast pace. I really like our Fabia R5 and everything about it worked perfectly," noted Lappi.
Lappi won 13 of the 20 special stages in the WRC2.
The 25 points for their success in Finland have catapulted Esapekka Lappi to first place in the Drivers’ Championship – although ŠKODA has only contested half of the eight rounds of the WRC season so far. Lappi now leads with 70 points, followed by his compatriot Jari Ketomaa (67). In third place is the second ŠKODA driver, Pontus Tidemand (61).
Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will be chasing more victories and FIA World Rally Championship titles in two and a half weeks. The Rally Germany from 21st to 23rd August is the next challenge.