Lappi open to WRC test role for manufacturer to earn 2022 return

Esapekka Lappi says that he would be happy to perform test and development duties for a World Rally Championship manufacturer team as a means to earn a seat for 2022

Lappi open to WRC test role for manufacturer to earn 2022 return

The 2016 WRC2 champion is currently without a seat in the WRC following his departure from the M-Sport Ford squad in December.

Following his title success with Skoda, Lappi won the 2017 Rally Finland in only his fourth event for Toyota, but switched to Citroen in 2019 just before it withdrew from the WRC.

His single season with M-Sport was a struggle, two fourth places on the Monte Carlo and Monza rallies his best results.

Lappi did much of the development work on the Fabia R5 in his four years at Skoda and, speaking to Autosport before his competition return in the WRC2 class on the Arctic Rally Finland, he said he was open to testing for a manufacturer as work on the new hybrid-powered Rally 1 cars intensifies.

"I was part of the development of Skoda's R5 right from the beginning and it turned out to be a very competitive car - not only under my hands, but also in the hands of all kinds of different drivers," he said.

"I have experience about that job and what it involves. And from what I understand of the regulations for the 2022 Rally 1 cars we are going more in the R5 direction with the technics.

"So, if I cannot be a professional driver, then it could be interesting to be a test or development one."

Lappi will make his WRC2 return in a Movisport-run Volkswagen Polo against stiff opposition including Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda Fabia), Adrien Fourmaux (Ford Fiesta) and reigning WRC3 champion Jari Huttunen, who joined Hyundai Motorsport's WRC2 line-up on Friday alongside Oliver Solberg and Ole Christian Veiby.

"I love driving so it is always cool to be on the entry list, but I can't really say that it feels different or any cooler than before because I was only away from the World Rally Championship for only one rally," he said.

"I definitely I want to be fighting for the victory on my return in the WRC2 class.

"The quality of the competition in WRC2 is a nice thing but it didn't really give me any sort of extra motivation to return. The plan this year was to do a few rallies and this came at the right time for me.

"I want to keep driving on the level where I know I should be, and if there is a chance for the job for 2022 to go for it.

"I know it's a thin chance but if I stay at home, I've no chance for sure."

shares
comments
Rallycross and DTM title winner Ekstrom to contest WRC Arctic Rally Finland

Previous article

Rallycross and DTM title winner Ekstrom to contest WRC Arctic Rally Finland

Next article

Tanak leads Hyundai 1-2 in warmup event for Arctic Rally Finland

Tanak leads Hyundai 1-2 in warmup event for Arctic Rally Finland
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Esapekka Lappi
Author Jason Craig
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Plus

The top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. Autosport ranks the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021
The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season Plus

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season

The World Rally Championship was hit hard by the pandemic, but the organisers and teams pulled together to deliver an enthralling campaign that produced five winners and a shock twist in the tail

WRC
Jan 1, 2021