Tuesday | 20 Sep 2016

Poll result: It's Lappi to Toyota

According to wrc.com users, Esapekka Lappi is the driver most likely to have a seat at Toyota's all new WRC squad next year.

More than 4,000 votes were cast in our special poll in which we asked you to predict who will win the battle for a seat in Toyota’s Yaris World Rally Car in 2017. The Finnish rising star collected 31 per cent of the total.

Estonia's Ott Tänak was the second most popular choice with 24 per cent, while Belgian Thierry Neuville polled 13 per cent to take third. Elfyn Evans and Pontus Tidemand polled 10 and nine per cent respectively, with Teemu Suninen trailed behind on five per cent.

So, what does this tell us? Well, adding these results to our earlier thoughts about Toyota's options, we reckon it will be an all-Finnish mix of youth and experience at the Gazoo Racing WRC squad next year.

Juho Hänninen has to be favourite for the experienced side of the partnership. He's the driver the team has entrusted with testing its new car and his WRC recce appearances this season mean he's well prepared for a full competitive programme in 2017.

As for the youth, we'll follow the wrc.com fan choice of Lappi. The timing couldn't be better for the step up to a World Rally Car programme and his confidence after ADAC Rallye Deutschland only added to the sense that he has this one in the bag.

But it's unlikely this is the end of the story. If Hänninen and Lappi occupy the team's lead cars in 2017, there might still be opportunities for our other shortlisted drivers in a third car - perhaps on a rotation basis.

We might not have to wait too long before we know for sure. The latest rumours from Finland suggest that Toyota will confirm more details of its WRC programme at the Paris Motor Show later this month.


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