Saturday | 01 Aug 2015

Lappi in comfort zone at head of WRC 2

Esapekka Lappi remained on course for a second straight WRC 2 victory by leading the category at Neste Oil Rally Finland after Saturday’s penultimate leg.

The Finn, who won in Poland last month, headed Skoda Motorsport team-mate Pontus Tidemand by 1min 23.3sec with just two speed tests covering 28.26km remaining in this eighth round of the championship.

The two Skoda Fabia R5 drivers split the stage wins between them. Each won two this morning and two this afternoon as they steered an untroubled course over 131.04km of fast gravel roads near Jyväskylä.

Stéphane Lefebvre was a lonely third in Citroën’s DS 3 RRC, 1min 40.0sec behind Tidemand, despite puncturing his front left tyre in SS13.

Jarkko Nikara and Yurii Protasov were split by a handful of seconds during a fierce battle for fourth, but the place went to Protasov when Nikara stopped his Ford Fiesta R5 with a damaged radiator in SS16. The Ukrainian was 1min 28.0sec behind Lefebvre.

Australian champion Scott Pedder again revelled on the fast roads to lie fifth in a Fiesta R5, with Norwegian Anders Grøndal completing the top six in his DS 3 R5.

Eyvind Brynildsen retired his Fiesta R5 when he had two punctures and carried only one spare wheel, Nicolas Fuchs stopped with more steering problems en route to the opening stage and Valeriy Gorban crashed out.

Max Rendina leads the Production Cup class within WRC 2 from Gianluca Linari with Alain Foulon third.

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