Thu 22 Sep 2022

Lappi : 'No drama' on making way for Ogier

Sébastien Ogier’s participation in the final three rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship means Esapekka Lappi’s season is over - but the Finnish driver remains positive about his future.

The 31-year-old has shared one of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s GR Yaris cars on a part-time basis with eight-time world champion Ogier this season, with Ogier’s plans to contest New Zealand, Spain and Japan ruling the Finn out for the rest of the year. 

Lappi’s seven starts for the Japanese manufacturer squad brought three podiums, with a fuel-related issue during the penultimate leg of EKO Acropolis Rally Greece earlier this month dropping him out of the leading trio. 

Speaking in his end of season press conference, Lappi insisted he had no hard feelings about Ogier taking the wheel for the final three rallies. 

“I’ve been knowing about it for quite a while,” Lappi said. “We have been discussing the programme from earlier in the season and I think it was agreed in May or June that Séb wants to do the last three events, so there’s no drama from that. 

“There are two sides to this (driving part-time),” he continued. “I think it’s a good balance between family and professional life. On the other hand, when I got back-to-back rallies - like the last four in a row - I felt that it influenced me and I actually felt better every time I sat in the car.

“In terms of that, yes, it would be nice to have more events because I’m sure we could go ahead step-by-step all the time. Now it’s going to be a long break if I can continue again next year, so in that way it’s not good. But, like I said, there are two sides to this.”

Toyota - along with Hyundai and M-Sport Ford - is yet to confirm its 2023 driver line-up. reported late last week how Lappi felt he had done enough to hold his position within the team and Lappi reinforced those claims today (Thursday).

“I’m feeling positive,” he admitted. “If I am feeling positive and I want to stay in the team and then Jari-Matti (Latvala, team principal) is saying he wants me in the team, I think that is a good combination.

“I’m feeling pretty confident that we can stay, but about the programme, I don’t know anything at all. We just have to wait and see.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 5, 2024 at 9:01:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM