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
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
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