Esapekka Lappi dominated WRC 2 at Neste Rally Finland on Friday to end the first full day of action with a huge lead in his home event.
Having made a flying start with fastest time in last night’s curtain-raising speed test, Lappi reeled off nine wins from 11 stages to return to the rally base in Jyväskylä with a 42.5sec advantage over fellow-Finn Teemu Suninen.
Lappi has endured a tough start to his WRC 2 campaign in a Skoda Fabia R5, but victory in front of his home crowd would propel him into title contention.
“Days don’t get much better than this,” said Lappi. “The car worked well and this is the only place in the world where you receive so much support from the fans in the forests. It was an amazing atmosphere. We had a slice of luck with a puncture which didn’t cause any further damage.”
The battle for second was a closer affair. Series leader Elfyn Evans held it initially before Suninen edged ahead. But Evans regained it until broken power steering in his Ford Fiesta R5 cost almost two minutes and he plunged to sixth.
Swede Pontus Tidemand replaced Evans but Suninen’s persistence was rewarded when he regained the place in the penultimate test in his Fabia R5. He ended 1.3sec ahead of Tidemand’s similar car.
Karl Kruuda overcame brake problems to hold fourth in a Fiesta R5, ahead of the similar car of Henning Solberg.
Australia’s Scott Pedder dropped two minutes with a big spin early on, Quentin Gilbert suffered differential problems and Emil Bergqvist retired this morning.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Neste Rally Finland.