Lappi: Same approach in Germany
Esapekka Lappi denies his breakthrough WRC victory at Neste Rally Finland last month will alter his approach to this week's ADAC Rallye Deutschland (17 - 20 August).
The 26-year-old Finn scored his maiden win at championship level on home ground, but is keeping expectations in check with a modest goal for the upcoming all-asphalt challenge.
"Winning in Finland won't make any difference to my approach in Germany: I'm going from my strongest event of the year to one that is definitely outside my comfort zone," he said.
"It's my first asphalt rally in a World Rally Car, but actually I find that the Yaris WRC is even easier to drive on asphalt than it is on gravel, because it really feels like a racing car."
A former Finnish karting champion, Lappi is no stranger to racing on asphalt, and he impressed on the WRC's German counter last year when he won the WRC 2 category in a Skoda Fabia R5 and finished seventh overall.
"The aerodynamics and the potential of the car is so big that the tyres are the limiting factor: there's more power than grip, so you have to drive very cleanly and gently to keep the life in the tyres," he explained. "If we can stay out of trouble in Germany then I think we have a chance to finish in the top five and score some points. That's my goal."
Toyota Gazoo Racing Team boss Tommi Mäkinen emphasised that on only the second pure asphalt event for the Yaris, the main objective was to further develop the car and evaluate the latest batch of technical upgrades.
He said: "It is going to be interesting to see how the improvements we have made to the car since Corsica now work in the different conditions of Germany. The asphalt development is still going on as there were some new things we tried in our pre-event test this week, especially with the dampers."
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