Thu 01 Jun 2023

Lappi launches early attack with Italy shakedown win

Esapekka Lappi posted the benchmark time through Thursday morning’s Rally Italia Sardegna shakedown, edging Hyundai Motorsport colleague Thierry Neuville in the process.

Just six-tenths of a second split the pair of i20 N drivers after three runs of the Loiri Porto San Paolo warm-up test near Olbia, with Finn Lappi setting the pace on his final run through the 2.87km stage.

Lappi is hunting down his third-consecutive podium finish this week at a rally which his team has won on four of the past five occasions. His eyes are on the skies as the prospect of wet weather, which already hit the pre-event recce, poses a potential obstacle during the four-day fixture.  

“I think the stages are looking okay,” he said. “There are some softer sections and some harder ones, but for sure the weather will play a big role this weekend. We are targeting the podium as always.”

Dani Sordo, also driving a Hyundai, was quickest out of the blocks but saw his time eclipsed by four-time Italy winner Sébastien Ogier on the next run. Unable to go any faster again, Toyota part-timer Ogier ended the session six-tenths down on Neuville in third.

“There are a lot of new sections this year and a challenging weekend ahead with long stages as well,” he enthused. “We haven't done stages like this for a long while so it should be interesting.”

Matching Ogier’s pace was his fellow Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet in an M-Sport Ford Puma, while Sordo and Kalle Rovanperä placed fifth and sixth respectively. Takamoto Katsuta, Ott Tänak, Elfyn Evans and WRC2 star Adrien Fourmaux completed the leaderboard.

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