Budar backs Lappi

CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL PIERRE BUDAR SAYS HE WILL DO EVERYTHING IT TAKES TO GIVE ESAPEKKA LAPPI HIS CONFIDENCE AND SELF-BELIEF BACK AFTER THE FINN CRASHED OUT OF THIS PAST WEEKEND'S XION RALLY ARGENTINA.

Lappi’s accident forced the Versailles-based Citroën Racing squad to fly a spare shell directly to Santiago ahead of next week’s Copec Rally Chile. Lappi’s car was too badly damaged after he rolled on Friday’s second run through the Santa Rosa-San Agustin test.

Last week was only Lappi’s second start in Villa Carlos Paz and Budar admitted the lack of experience on one of the season’s most specific rallies might have been a contributing factor to his driver’s tough outing.

Budar said: “Maybe he is short of experience still, but we still trust him and we need him to be back and fully confident in himself. We are working for him to be better and better. I am quite sure he can learn a lot from Seb [Ogier, team-mate], he is young and a good guy and this is a good opportunity for him and one we have to play to the maximum.”

Lappi’s start to the season – his first in a C3 WRC – hasn’t been the most straightforward. He retired from Monte Carlo and struggled for speed in Mexico and Corsica. A runners-up spot on round two in Sweden was a highlight for the team.

“You don’t do this kind of result – this second place at Rally Sweden – by accident,” said Budar. “He’s learning a new team and a new car and this can take time. We will support him, of course we will. We do everything we can.” 

And that includes airfreighting a new C3 WRC across the Atlantic for the sixth round of the WRC.

Having to fly a new car out was the nightmare scenario for the teams, who had all prepared a new chassis – some of them had prepared two – in case one of the Argentina entry cars was crashed heavily. 

Budar added: “It’s not optimal, but we had no choice if we want to compete in Chile – this is what we have to do. We always planned to have the third car ready [at the factory in Versailles] and now we bring it, the car will be flown out and we receive it directly to Chile.”

More News