Lappi: ‘I’m under pressure’

Esapekka Lappi admitted Sunday’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal crash and subsequent retirement was another blow to his already dented confidence.

Lappi has endured a difficult start to his Citroën Racing career, but found a setting he liked with the C3 at his pre-Portugal test and took assurance from that change into the rally.

He was running fifth, only to roll in the final morning and later retire with broken suspension after clouting a bank.

“There is quite much pressure on me now,” he said. “This is not the first time I have not been able to deliver for the team and now I have the pressure. I can do it for one day, but I need to do it for three.

“The pace I showed doesn’t really help – you cannot be fast and stupid. What does help is the step we made with the car and my set-up. This I can take forward to the next round in Sardinia.”

Team principal Pierre Budar said Lappi found his pace in Portugal, but he now wanted to see greater consistency from his Finnish star.

“We can see that Esapekka has achieved very good pace. He was very fast and reliable – and from a very difficult place, second on the road on Saturday. That was a strong day for him and he was happy and comfortable in the car.

“It’s a shame he made the mistake, we are disappointed for that. And this shows that he still needs to learn. We need to teach him that he needs to focus for more than one day, it needs to be for all three – or four – days of the rally.

“He can achieve one nice day, but it’s not over then. He needs to perform for the whole rally. We know he has the pace and the balance in the car and we will find this last thing with him.”

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