Thu 14 Jul 2022

Lappi steals last-minute honours in wet Estonia shakedown

Esapekka Lappi snatched the fastest time with a very late run through a damp and muddy Rally Estonia shakedown on Thursday morning.

Pos Driver Car Time
1. Esapekka LAPPI Toyota GR Yaris 2min 53.3sec
2. Thierry NEUVILLE Hyundai i20 N +0.7sec
3. Kalle ROVANPERÄ Toyota GR Yaris +1.1sec
4. Ott TÄNAK Hyundai i20 N +1.7sec

5.

Elfyn EVANS Toyota GR Yaris +2.3sec
6. Oliver SOLBERG Hyundai i20 N +2.8sec
7. Takamoto KATSUTA Toyota GR Yaris  +3.4sec
8. Craig BREEN Ford Puma +3.4sec
9. Gus GREENSMITH Ford Puma +3.8sec
10. Pierre-Louis LOUBET Ford Puma +4.0sec

• Full coverage from Rally Estonia will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

It looked as if Thierry Neuville would claim the honours on the 6.23km Abissaare warm-up blast as the Belgian outpaced early pacesetter Kalle Rovanperä - who led for runs two and three - on his fourth pass. 

However, after returning to the Tartu service park, Toyota GR Yaris driver Lappi went back out for a fifth and final run and outpaced Hyundai i20 N man Neuville by seven-tenths. Championship leader Rovanperä completed the leading trio four-tenths further back in another Toyota. 

"It will be a very challenging rally because of the conditions," mused Lappi. 

"It's hard to know what to expect - I have never done this rally in wet conditions, but I believe there will be a lot of surprises. We need to see how the conditions are and how it feels."

Home hero Ott Tänak brought his i20 home 1.7sec off the pace in fourth, while Elfyn Evans snuck into the top five late in the session. The Welshman edged sixth-placed Hyundai hotshot Oliver Solberg by 0.5sec. 

Takamoto Katsuta rolled less than one kilometre from the finish on his fourth run. He and co-driver Aaron Johnston were fine, although his Toyota Gazoo Racing team now face a race against time to repair the car before the start later this evening. 

"It was a medium to high-speed corner," he explained. "We hit some ruts or a small rock or something with the front of the car.

"I tried to stay on the line, but the rear snapped away completely and we had big oversteer. The next corner was quite tight and I couldn't make it. Luckily there were no trees or hard things and I hope it will be fine for this evening," he added.

The leading times were:

More Rally Estonia news
Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM