Five years ago the Toyota man stood on the top step of the podium as a rally winner. Last week he was two steps down – but happy to be in the top three after an action-packed eighth round of the WRC.
“It was a little bit of a crazy one,” Lappi said. “In the beginning, we were close and we were in the fight, but then we got this rock to the screen on Saturday. It was hard to drive and at times it was like a mirror - the sun was coming straight to my face.
“The main thing then was to make the podium and this was looking okay until we rolled [in the penultimate Oittila stage].
“I had checked this corner on the first pass and felt there was space to run wide, to use the exit. But when I arrived there, there was a rut before the ditch. We rolled three times – it was a big surprise.”
Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm worked to get water back into the radiator before making it through the stage to finish third overall.
“The radiator had leaked,” he explained, “and there was power steering fluid on the windscreen. It was not easy – especially in the jumps: we had no aero and no roof. Janne was having to shout the pace notes to me and I couldn’t hear because of the wind noise.
“This was a tough one. We did so much work for this one, the test went well then I was doing a lot of work with the videos all night. We did a lot of effort and luckily we made the finish and the podium. Maybe there was too much action on this rally.”
Lappi, who is sharing his GR Yaris car with Sébastien Ogier this season, will remain in the car for the next two rounds in Belgium and Greece.
The Finn missed last season’s Ypres Rally Belgium, but he has been there before – competing on the famous central European asphalt in his ERC title winning season with Škoda in 2014.