Rising Finnish star Esapekka Lappi has played down expectations of him winning this year’s WRC 2 championship, despite having Skoda Motorsport’s brand-new Fabia R5 rally car at his disposal.
Speaking in an interview for the latest WRC LIVE ‘Regroup’ Podcast, the reigning European Rally Champion highlighted the strength of the WRC 2 competition this season, particularly at the upcoming Vodafone Rally de Portugal (21-24 May) – the event where Lappi will give the Fabia R5 its competitive debut.
“I was surprised when I saw the entry list for Portugal, it was huge,” he said. “It’s good to have many different drivers fighting at the top and there will be some very tough competition.
“But I don’t know where we will be in Portugal. My aim is to get some experience. I know some rallies already – maybe about 60% – but not all of them. Last year I made too many stupid mistakes so this time I need to make sure I finish all the races. My target is not to win the championship this season.”
Lappi revealed that the Skoda Motorsport team has racked up around 4,000 kilometres during testing for its 2015 WRC 2 campaign and Lappi himself got two days behind the wheel in Portugal recently. That has given him some confidence ahead of his WRC 2 opener.
He said: “The settings that we made in Portugal were quite good for me. I might do a bit of fine tuning in the shakedown perhaps, but we are starting from a good place.”
Head to the podcast section to head more from Lappi. This episode also features an interview with another WRC 2 driver who will start his season in Portugal - last year's Drive DMACK prize winner Sander Parn.
Video: Here's the car Lappi will drive in Portugal