Thursday | 19 Mar 2020

Lappi focuses on Fiesta upgrades

M-Sport Ford driver Esapekka Lappi is looking forward to testing the improved specification Ford Fiesta Word Rally Car – even if he doesn’t know when that’s going to be.

The British team was scheduled to introduce the evolution of its engine at next month’s SpeedAgro Rally Argentina, but the postponement of round four means those plans are on ice for now.

In addition to the engine upgrade, improvements to the car’s front aerodynamics are in the pipeline for the summer.

“I didn’t test with the new engine yet,” said Lappi, “but Malcolm (Wilson) says the numbers are good and, for sure, it’s not going to be a step backwards. To improve the car we talked about engine, aero and suspension – now it’s only the suspension.”

Lappi was delighted with the initial handling of his Fiesta in Mexico last weekend but admitted he started the rally with the wrong transmission.

Video: Rally Guanajuato Mexico - Lappi escapes from blaze

“We changed the differential at shakedown,” he said. “We were going to change it back at the end of the first day, but I never got there.”

His Mexico outing was cut short when his Fiesta caught fire and burned out on the opening day of the León-based event.

He added: “The feeling (with the right transmission) was really good. I got a similar differential and braking ramp as the one I had from Finland in the Citroën last year. This worked and gave me real confidence with the car.

“The handling is really nice, the only way we could improve that is with the dampers. The dampers are not bad at all, but we’ve done the geometry, the differentials and everything else – this is the last thing to work on.

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“I’m looking forward to test these parts, but now we’re not sure where we go from here.”

Three rounds in to his new life at M-Sport and Lappi admitted he was relishing working with the Cumbrians.

“It’s a nice family team,” he said. “In fact, the feeling in the team with Citroën was quite the same, the same team spirit. But this feels a bit closer, everybody speaks English and that’s a bit easier.

“For the car, the feeling is definitely better than it was this time last year. From the start, the car has been logical and the handling normal.”