Surprise package Esapekka Lappi dismissed suggestions he could win in Poland or Finland after last weekend’s stellar performance at Rally Italia Sardegna.
Lappi announced his arrival at the WRC’s top level in style, with six stage victories in Italy on only his second World Rally Car outing for Toyota Gazoo Racing.
He admitted he surprised himself with his speed, but feels it would be too much too soon to target victory on next month’s gravel encounters on fast roads to which he is more suited.
“Now we’ve done slower rallies, the next two will be much faster. I’ve been doing some tests in Finland but still it’s a new challenge again to understand what is the limit with the aero and how much you can push,” explained Lappi.
“At least now I know that on the slower rallies I know how to drive this car, what is the fastest way, and we need to learn it also for the faster rallies now.”
Former WRC 2 champion Lappi, who won two stages with just five operational gears in his Yaris, and co-driver Janne Ferm prepared diligently for their step-up to the WRC’s headline category.
“Compared with the last years, we’ve been working a lot with the pace notes, trying to improve all the time to make them more precise. And then just motivation, trying to be better all the time and analyse the data to understand how you should drive,” he added.
Lappi said he still had to find his limit with the Yaris.
“When you just do clean runs, you’re not overdriving and the times are coming. It’s actually somehow easy in some ways. We’ll find out some time because mistakes will happen, but hopefully we’ll manage to stay on the road,” he said.