|Date of Birth||17.01.1991|
|First Rally||2011, Rally Finland|
The story so far
A lack of funding dashed Esapekka Lappi’s hopes of a career in circuit racing and at the age of 20 he switched his focus to rallying, rapidly making his mark by being named Rookie of the Year in Finland in 2010.
His big breakthrough came in 2012 when he won all seven rounds of the Finnish Championship to lift the national title. He was signed by Skoda Motorsport the same year and won his debut event in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) in Poland.
In 2013 Lappi finished runner-up in the FIA Asia-Pacific series after taking three victories,
and made his mark in the WRC by winning WRC2 in Portugal.
A full ERC campaign followed in 2014 with Skoda and the Finn scored three wins to lift the title in a Fabia S2000.
WRC2 was the focus in 2015 as Lappi was handed an all-new Fabia R5, but late season misfortunes dashed his hopes after a promising start.
After romping to the WRC2 title in 2016, Lappi was rewarded with an eight-rally programme at the wheel of a Toyota Yaris WRC in 2017. He quickly acclimatised to the sport’s top level and won his home rally in Finland on only his fourth drive.
A mixed 2018 brought three podiums and fifth place in the championship, as well as helping Toyota Gazoo to win the manufacturers’ crown.
He left the Japanese manufacturer for Citroën in 2019 but struggled for confidence in the C3 and three second-place finishes masked a frustrating year.
The French manufacturer’s WRC departure meant Lappi was on the move again and he led the M-Sport Ford squad in 2020. A lacklustre season saw the Finn finish sixth and he departed the team at the end of the year.
A step back to WRC2 brought Lappi victories at Arctic Rally Finland and in Portugal and a chance to drive a privately-entered Toyota Yaris World Rally Car at Rally Finland followed. He finished an impressive fourth, earning a part-time place in Toyota’s main team for 2022.
Alternating GR Yaris Rally1 drives with eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier, Lappi finished on the podium three times. However, addressing his dreams of challenging for the drivers' championship, he’d always harboured feelings there was unfinished business.
When rival team Hyundai came calling with the offer of a full-time seat in its team for 2023, Lappi gratefully accepted.