Esapekka Lappi stays clear of battle for second on Rally Finland

Esapekka Lappi continues to hold a strong Rally Finland lead heading into the final loop, with a three-driver fight raging for second in the order

Esapekka Lappi stays clear of battle for second on Rally Finland

Lappi, on his fourth event in a World Rally Car with Toyota, has a gap of 44.2s and spent the first two stages of Sunday trying to manage that.

"I'm just trying to enjoy it, but it's difficult when you're not pushing flat out," said Lappi.

"You really need to be pushing to get the aero and everything working."

In the battle for second, Lappi's team-mate Juho Hanninen was shuffled back to fourth on the final stage of the loop. He had a small off at the start of the stage, but oddly his time loss came towards the end.

Instead, Teemu Suninen, in his second event in a 2017 car, lies second in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC.

He had a poor first stage but made a set-up change on the road section, which he refused to divulge in a bid to keep the tweak from his rivals.

Elfyn Evans rounds out the top three, 2.5s behind Suninen with two stages to go.

Evans had his wipers stick in the middle of the screen on SS22, but recovered to put his DMACK M-Sport Fiesta onto the podium. Hanninen lies 0.2s behind.

Craig Breen is fifth, half a minute behind Hanninen on the event he scored his first WRC podium on last year.

The top five on this event is currently made up of drivers who are yet to score their first overall WRC win.

Breen is 19.4s ahead of Thierry Neuville's Hyundai, extending that gap on Sunday morning.

M-Sport's Ott Tanak is seventh and 25 seconds behind Neuville, while Kris Meeke's Citroen, Neuville's team-mate Dani Sordo and Mads Ostberg's privateer Fiesta round out the top 10.

LEADING POSITIONS

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 2h21m18.7s
2 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 42.2s
3 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 44.7s
4 Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 44.9s
5 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1m19.9s
6 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m39.3s
7 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 2m04.4s
8 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 3m10.4s
9 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 4m07.3s
10 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 4m24.5s


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WRC rookie Esapekka Lappi wins Rally Finland for Toyota

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