Thursday | 30 Jul 2015

Lappi targets back- to-back WRC 2 wins

Esapekka Lappi could vault to the top of the WRC 2 standings at Neste Oil Rally Finland (30 July - 2 August) this week if he claims his second consecutive victory at his home rally.

Lappi spent the early days of his career on Finland’s roads and is a firm favourite to take a second win after victory in Poland earlier this month. With series leader Jari Ketomaa ruled out with an eye injury, a win could promote Lappi into top spot.

“Plenty of full throttle and long jumps - I love this rally in my home country,” said the Skoda Fabia R5 driver, who is 22 points behind Ketomaa. “You need a lot of courage at Rally Finland and can’t afford even a minor error.”

Team-mate Pontus Tidemand could be one of Lappi’s biggest rivals. The Swede, who is two points behind him, claimed a podium in Finland in 2013 en route to the Junior WRC title.

Nordic drivers will be strong contenders. Finn Jarkko Nikara replaces Ketomaa in the Drive DMACK line-up for his ninth Rally Finland but his first in a Ford Fiesta R5, and Norway’s Eyvind Brynildsen joins the squad for the first time since February.

Karl Kruuda was a likely podium finisher but withdrew earlier this week after damaging the engine of his DS 3 R5 in a crash at Rally Estonia earlier this month.

Ukraine’s Yurii Protasov, who is fourth in the points, returns in a Fiesta RRC after missing Poland, while Nicolas Fuchs (Fiesta R5), Stéphane Lefebvre (DS 3 RRC) and Valeriy Gorban (Mini John Cooper) could all enhance their top 10 placings.

Craig Breen (Peugeot 208 T16 R5) and Eric Camilli (Fiesta R5) have both shown strong pace this year but not had the results to show for it.

The 22 starters include the top three drivers in the Production Cup standings, Gianluca Linari, Alain Foulon and Max Rendina.

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