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WRC Central Europe Rally

WRC Central Europe exit among Lappi’s biggest disappointments

Esapekka Lappi says his spectacular exit from the Central European Rally is “one of the biggest disappointments" of his 2023 World Rally Championship campaign.

Esapekka Lappi, Hyundai World Rally Team

The Hyundai driver headed into stage five sitting an impressive third overall in extreme wet weather, having faced some of the worst road surface conditions.

However, the Finn slightly misjudged a narrow section which resulted in his i20N making heavy contact with the trees, ending his day. Luckily, Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm clambered out of their heavily damaged car unharmed.

The crash is the third high profile incident in the last four events, but the fact it arrived after such strong start on Friday left Lappi bitterly disappointed.

“The corner itself was okay but there were some leaves in there and the braking was fully clean on the road,” said Lappi.

“I think I was maybe too much on the side of the road, on the edge, and the right rear tyre was a bit on the mud already and then when I touched the brake pedal I lost the rear immediately. This caught me.

“When you hit the trees for sure you know it is game over."

 

Lappi revealed that he was running a new differential and brake pads that had delivered him munch more comfortable car on tarmac than he has previously experienced, which only added to his frustration.

“I had a different front differential and I had new brake pads which we had never tried before and some new geometry as well, but the biggest factor was the brakes and the front diff for sure,” he added.

“I had a challenge with the brakes as they have been too aggressive for my liking and then finally I have got the brakes how I would like them on tarmac.

“I think my gravel crew did quite a nice job [with our information] because we tried to guess where the mud would be and he did it really well. For me it was quite simple to drive because I knew where I could commit. It was not that bad.

“Yeah for sure this was one of the biggest disappointments for me this season.”

Hyundai has confirmed that Lappi won't rejoin the rally. 

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