Friday | 28 Jan 2022

Lappi and Bertelli make Rally1 debuts in Sweden

Esapekka Lappi and Lorenzo Bertelli will make their hybrid Rally1 debuts at next month’s Rally Sweden (24 - 27 February) in Umeå.

Lappi (above) will make his first appearance in a Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Yaris since returning to the Japanese manufacturer, whomhe left in 2018. Bertelli will drive a fourth Puma for M-Sport Ford.

Eleven top-tier cars have been entered for the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship season, which moves north to the Västerbotten region on Sweden’s east coast to guarantee snow and ice conditions.

M-Sport Ford, which tops the drivers’ and manufacturers’ standings after stealing the show at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo, has entered four Pumas. Craig Breen, Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith join Italian Bertelli.

Bertelli's previous WRC outing was at Safari Rally Kenya last season

Lappi, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä comprise Toyota’s line-up, with Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta listed for the manufacturer’s one-car Next Generation team.

Hyundai Shell Mobis field an identical line-up to Monte-Carlo, with Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak and Oliver Solberg in i20 N machinery.

There’s a strong field, too, in the WRC2 premier support category, headed by Monte-Carlo winner Andreas Mikkelsen in Toksport’s Skoda Fabia. The Norwegian is joined by Marco Bulacia, with Emil Lindholm and Nikolay Gryazin also featuring as part of Toksport’s second-string squad.

M-Sport Ford will compete in WRC2 for the first time this year with Jari Huttunen and Sweden’s Mattias Adielsson in Fiesta Rally2 cars.

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It will be Huttunen’s second appearance with the British team after debuting in 2021’s finale at Monza, while Adielsson makes his first WRC start since 2018 and only his third in all. Georg Linnamäe makes his season debut in ALM Motorsport’s Volkswagen Polo GTI.

There are a host of strong private entries further down the WRC2 field. Norway’s Ole Christian Veiby, Estonia’s Egon Kaur and Finn Eerik Pietarinen are listed in Polos, while Irish youngster Josh McErlean makes his season bow in a Hyundai i20 N. Bruno Bulacia, younger brother of Marco, is due to make his first WRC start in another Fabia. He will be co-driven by the experienced Marc Marti.

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Also listed is former Suzuki works driver and double FIA Junior world champion PG Andersson. The Swede drives a Fiesta Rally2.

WRC3 is filled by entries from FIA Junior WRC contenders, who step up from two-wheel drive action to four-wheel drive Fiesta Rally3 cars this year.

Ex-Ford factory driver Stig Andervang tackles his first WRC event since 1988 in a Fabia.

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