Thu 26 Jan 2023

Lappi summarises Hyundai debut, optimistic for future success

Esapekka Lappi's Hyundai debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo was not the success he’d hoped for, but the i20 N driver is remaining positive about the experience.

The Finn, who drove for Toyota Gazoo Racing last season, was steering one of Hyundai’s i20 N Rally1 cars for the first time at the championship’s opening round. He ran eighth overall for all but one stage of the rally after struggling to trouble any of the frontrunners.

Despite his lack of pace, Lappi is remaining focused on the bigger picture - recognising that the event was an important opportunity for him and co-driver Janne Ferm to gain valuable experience in their new steed.

"For sure, it was important mileage for us in the end," Lappi said. "On Tarmac you need to be smart: you need to really make the car work to make the times better. It doesn't work if you force yourself or force the car, you end up just overheating the tyres and you will probably do a mistake, so you need to get the indication from the car on how you can drive faster.

“I think we were smart with that - we saw we were not on the pace, but we managed to slowly develop ourselves, and I think we managed to do some steps. We are now much better prepared for Croatia, the next tarmac event. There are just small details we need to work on to be as fast as we want to be.”

Talking through those details, the former Rally Finland winner highlighted some of the areas he wanted to work on. He added: “I would say the front and rear axle. The car doesn't feel bad at all - it's just that I can't be as fast as I would like to.

“It's about really small details that we need to change and try, to find the small bits in every corner – and this is the trickiest thing to find. The level is so high that you need to have a perfect run to be able to match the top times."

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM