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Tue 20 Jun 2023

Lappi entering the unknown with Safari Rally debut

Hyundai Motorsport star Esapekka Lappi will step into a whole new world when he contests this week's Safari Rally Kenya (22 - 25 June).

The Finn has never competed at the Naivasha-based FIA World Rally Championship round before, but feels he’s as well prepared as he can be. Twelve months ago, Sébastien Ogier drove the Toyota the pair were sharing and Lappi was on the WRC bench in 2021.

“I’ve watched as many onboards as possible to understand how you should drive on each of the specific areas,” he said. “This is going to be a new adventure, a new territory for me - somewhere I’ve never been before. I don’t know what to expect, but I think we know what the car is capable of from another gravel rally.

“We know the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid performs well on this surface, but we may just need to go higher on the ride height. I’ve also heard there are a lot of zebras here, so it will be a unique experience for me with the conditions and the animals as well!”

Despite the unknown, Lappi is a man riding the crest of a podium wave right now, arriving into Africa on the back of three consecutive top threes.

He added: “Every rally we need to set the target of the podium now: we know the speed is there, so that has to be our goal.”

19 stunning stages | WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2023