Lappi laps up home success

30 July 2017 04:23

Esapekka Lappi has secured his first World Rally Championship victory by winning Rally Finland - just his fourth event at the top level.

Finn Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm finished 36 seconds ahead of Welshman Elfyn Evans and sealed the Toyota team's second success in their first season back in WRC.

"Amazing, amazing", Lappi told Rally Finland's official website. "What a rally.

"I have to really say a big thanks to the team and to (team-mate) Tommi (Makinen). They built such a fast car in such a short time. I have big, big respect for them."

Lappi held a 49.1-second overnight lead in his Toyota Yaris over fellow novice Teemu Suninen and overcame a scare on the final morning when he was able to replace a damaged a rear wheel on the penultimate stage.

Closest challenger Jari-Matti Latvala was forced to retire on Saturday afternoon when his car's electronic control unit (ECU) failed, while Suninen's high-speed spin one stage from the end saw him slip to fourth place.

Suninen, in only his second race at the highest level, had been battling for second place with Evans' Ford Fiesta and another Finn, Juho Hanninen, who finished third.

Irishman Craig Breen finished fifth in his Citroen C3 ahead of Thierry Neuville, who has moved top of the championship table, level with Sebastien Ogier, who crashed out on Friday morning and was unable to restart due to co-driver Julien Ingrassia's concussion.

Source: PA