Esapekka Lappi overhauled local favourite Armin Kremer on the second leg of ADAC Rallye Deutschland to take a healthy WRC 2 category lead into the last day of competition.
The Finn, who spun his Skoda Fabia R5 three times in the space of two stages on Friday morning, put his disappointing start to the event firmly behind him on day two as he edged past Kremer with a fastest time in the Bosenberg 1 test.
“I missed one of the junctions and stopped in the stage,” Kremer said as he explained his time loss. “I had to reverse and dropped too many seconds.”
A further three fastest times on the remaining six stages that were contested allowed Lappi to extend his overall lead to an impressive 1m 09.9s as the leg drew to its conclusion.
“It’s been a very good day,” the Rally Finland winner said. “My target tomorrow is to survive without any problems. The gap is big enough so I can take it a bit easy.”
Kremer’s day went from bad to worse in the afternoon as he was passed by the hard-charging Kopecky in the final stage.
The Czech driver was also recovering from a bad start to the rally but three fastest stage times on Saturday allowed him to gradually reign in his German rival and seal second place by 18.4s.
Kopecky thought the 1m 09.9s gap to Lappi would be too much to make up on Sunday’s remaining four stages, particularly as he was all too aware of his team-mate’s asphalt driving skills.
He said: “Esapekka is a champion in go karts and his driving is very smooth on the Tarmac. I know what he can do. It’s important for the team that I finish in second place tomorrow.”
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