Sunday | 02 Aug 2015

Lappi leads WRC 2 after Finland win

Esapekka Lappi took his second consecutive WRC 2 victory at Neste Oil Rally Finland on Sunday afternoon to move into the championship lead.

The Finn, who won in Poland last month, dominated this eighth round of the season in a Skoda Fabia R5. He took the lead on Friday morning and built a strong advantage over team-mate Pontus Tidemand.

The pair measured their pace through the final two legs, with Lappi heading his Swedish colleague by 1min 41.0sec after 20 rollercoaster gravel stages covering 320km. It gave him a three-point lead over Jari Ketomaa, who missed the rally with an eye injury.

"I'm the happiest man here!" said Lappi. "Like in Poland it went exactly to plan. The only target was to push a bit on Friday and see how it goes. The others couldn't match our speed and we were able to cruise to the finish. Okay, perhaps not cruise, but we certainly enjoyed the stages a bit more."

Lappi (left) and Tidemand made it a 1-2 for Skoda

Citroën’s Stéphane Lefebvre scored his best result since winning the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo in third. The Frenchman, who led after Thursday’s first stage, finished 1min 50.5sec behind Tidemand.

Ukraine’s Yurii Protasov was fourth in a Ford Fiesta RRC, with Australian champion Scott Pedder claiming a career-best result in fifth and Anders Grøndal completing the top six.

It proved a rally of attrition and among the top drivers to retire were Jarkko Nikara (engine), Craig Breen (engine), Eyvind Brynildsen (punctures), Nicolas Fuchs (steering), and Valeriy Gorban (crash) 

In the Production Cup category within WRC 2, Max Rendina finished more than 10 minutes clear of Gianluca Linari, with Alain Foulon in third. Linari retained the championship lead.

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