Esapekka Lappi did everything he had to during Friday’s opening leg of Kennards Hire Rally Australia to move closer to securing the WRC 2 title.
Needing a win or second place at the final round to lift the crown, Lappi was error free over the hot and dusty New South Wales shire roads in his Skoda Fabia R5 to build a 2min 12.8sec lead. He won 10 of the 11 speed tests.
“No dramas and no problems, everything is under control I would say. I drove on the safe side all the time, just doing the job I need to do,” said Lappi, who has two more days to negotiate at this final round of the championship.
Nicolas Fuchs was second in a similar car but the Peruvian had a far from easy day. He trailed Hubert Ptaszek initially before moving ahead on SS4, only to hit a wall four stages later and damage his car’s rear left suspension.
The error allowed Ptaszek back into second in his Peugeot 208. But the Pole, whose engine overheated in the high afternoon temperatures, spun in the penultimate test to allow Fuchs ahead again. The gap between the duo was 6.6sec.
Khalid Al Suwaidi was fourth in another Fabia R5, while Jourdan Serderidis failed to complete the day after retiring his Citroën DS 3 in SS7.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Kennards Hire Rally Australia.