SS17: Lappi charges
Esapekka Lappi was a man on the move in Sunday morning’s opening Likenäs speed test as the Finn set his sights on Hayden Paddon’s fourth place.
Stage info: SS17
Likenäs 1, 21.19km
Likenäs is a Rally Sweden classic dating back to the 1970s but was driven in this direction for the first time only 12 months ago. It starts just before Ambjörby’s motor stadium bowl, but then it is down to proper business on twisty, but fast roads. Crests, dips, bumps – Likenäs has everything and it’s a stage the drivers will love.
The Toyota Yaris driver was second through the 21.19km test to demote Mads Østberg from fifth and close to within just 7.4sec of Paddon. And all that was achieved with a performance Lappi himself was not happy with.
“We did a good stage but for me it wasn’t enough. I don’t know this stage and in so many places I went into the wrong gear. I was so fed up. I will be better in the next stage,” he said.
Neither Paddon nor Østberg were happy with their efforts, which netted eighth and 10th fastest times.
“I wanted to push, and I tried, but I couldn’t get the rhythm. I knew what I wanted to do in my head, but couldn’t get the car to do it,” said Paddon.
Østberg was dissatisfied with changes to his Citroën C3: “We did a small mistake and we ended up being similar to yesterday morning. A misunderstanding with the team. I was a bit too safe and struggled with the car,” he explained.
Leader Thierry Neuville was only 13th fastest but there were no problems for the Belgian, whose lead over Craig Breen was cut to 14.8sec.
“I was quite careful in this one. It was the first pass through the stage and we confirmed the pace notes for the second pass so it should be fine,” he said.
Irishman Breen stretched his advantage over third-placed Andreas Mikkelsen by a further second to 10.3sec.
Estonia’s Ott Tänak was fastest on roads which offered good grip with a light covering of fresh snow.
Kris Meeke, returning under Rally 2 rules after retiring yesterday with a turbo problem in his C3, dropped 40sec after spinning in a narrow section and driving back up the road before he could turn round.
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