Fri 19 May 2023

Lappi demands more grip after Portugal podium

Hyundai driver Esapekka Lappi has challenged himself and his team to be better and to take the fight to FIA World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanperä.

Toyota driver Rovanperä dominated last week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal, bringing his GR Yaris Rally1 home comfortably ahead of Lappi and his second-placed Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo.

The biggest disappointment for Lappi came on the opening day’s stages, where Rovanperä had worse conditions on the road.

“It was disappointing,” said Lappi. “He was beating us 6-0 all the time. Even on Friday, he was not really opening the road but was almost opening the road and still he could do similar times to us.

“Then, with similar road positions, he beat us by 100 per cent. That’s a bit disappointing to see that kind of pace from another team. I guess it is also showing us that we have a job to do as a team to try and develop the car harder and be better in the future.”

Asked where that development needed to come, Lappi’s responded immediately with a request for more grip.

The turbo issues both he and Thierry Neuville experienced were also a concern.

He added: “[There was] A little too much action on the final day for our team in terms of technical issues, both for Thierry and then myself right at the end. Two kilometres from the end of the last stage, we picked up a problem with our turbo as well. I’m sure the team will carefully investigate the issues so they don’t happen again and we can be better in the next rounds.”

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