Monday | 13 Jun 2022

Lappi crash has silver lining for Toyota

Esapekka Lappi’s retirement from the lead of Rally Italia Sardegna was far from ideal, but the silver lining to the Toyota Gazoo Racing's cloud was running Safari Rally Kenya test parts on the #4 GR Yaris Rally1.

The next round of the World Rally Championship takes the crews back to Safari Rally Kenya, which returned for the first time in two decades last season. Being outside of Europe, a local pre-event test close to the Naivasha base in Kenya is not permitted by the regulations. Instead, the teams have done their hot, gravel development work in the South of France – running in sessions towards the end of last season and into this.

By their own admission, the Yaris struggled in some of the sandier conditions in Sardinia, which is one of the reasons Lappi’s Toyota (which returned under re-entry regulations on Saturday) was fitted with parts aimed more at Africa than the Italian island.

Lappi was remaining tight-lipped about what exactly he tested for Kenya

“I was running some parts for Kenya,” said Lappi, who won’t actually enjoy the fruits of his labours with Sébastien Ogier returning to his seat at round six.

“I’m not going to tell you what. I already felt better with this set-up in Sardinia. OK, the road is not the same like Safari, but the car was feeling good; we changed a lot and I think it was a good step for the next round. It was more than just working with the ride height and things, but I can’t tell you the specifics.”

Toyota returns to Kenya with Ogier chasing back-to-back victories on an event he fell in love with last season.

Safari Rally Kenya trailer

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