Esapekka Lappi faced a tense wait before event stewards confirmed his WRC 2 victory at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB on Sunday night.
He dominated the WRC’s principal support category to beat Skoda Motorsport team-mate Pontus Tidemand by 29.1sec. However, his success was thrown into doubt after FIA technical officials discovered irregularities with his Fabia R5’s crankshaft.
The crankshaft position sensor was different to the one submitted in the car’s homologation form. Skoda technical director Aleš Rada admitted there had been a documentation error and stewards fined the Czech company 10,000 euros, but Lappi kept his win.
Third-placed Teemu Suninen’s Team Oreca, which bought his Fabia R5 from Skoda Motorsport, was fined 1,000 euros for a similar offence but was also not penalised in the results.
Lappi’s Welsh win was his third in a row and means he goes to the final round at Kennards Hire Rally Australia (17 - 20 November) as favourite for the title. First or second would be sufficient to pip Suninen, who has completed his scoring rounds, to the crown.
Czech team-mate Jan Kopecký is due to support Lappi at the Coffs Harbour-based event and with only six cars entered in the category, the Finn knows the title is his to lose.
“I think we have to finish second but it’s quite complicated. OK there are six WRC 2 cars, so it should be possible to finish second, but this is motorsport and anything can happen. It’s a long rally, let’s wait and see,” he said.
“We’re delighted to have won in Britain but we also know that we need to start preparing for Australia straight away, where it’s down to us to achieve our big goal for the season.”