Wed 05 Jul 2023

Kenya setbacks raise questions for Lappi

Esapekka Lappi has admitted that question marks surround his chances at upcoming rounds in Estonia and Finland after he suffered four propshaft-related failures at Safari Rally Kenya last month.

Lappi started the FIA World Rally Championship’s seventh round in search of a fourth consecutive podium result but finished a lowly 12th overall after being plagued by transmission-related mechanical breakages.

The troubles began during Wednesday's shakedown stage when his car’s propshaft broke, and although repairs were quickly carried out, he encountered similar problems in the subsequent run.

After a commendable climb to third overall by Saturday afternoon, Lappi's aspirations were crushed once again as he suffered another propshaft failure in Soysambu 2. Undeterred, he rejoined the rally on Sunday morning, only to experience yet another setback in the opening stage.

“I think that it must be something related to the assembly, or something is wrong on the drivetrain line... I don't know,” the Finn revealed. “The others didn't have this problem, but it was the same chassis as in Sardinia.

“I have no idea. One time it's a coincidence. Second time, maybe. Four times? I was a bit afraid to push in the [Kenya] Power Stage, but it lasted,” he added.

Up next, the blisteringly fast gravel roads of Estonia and his home round in Finland offer Lappi the perfect platforms to regain his stride. However, when asked about preventing further propshaft failures, he admitted that lingering uncertainties remained.

“I think it's less rough [in Estonia and Finland], that's the only hope that I have,” he shared. “For sure, the team will check and analyse, but it's challenging. We cannot make [the parts] stronger, that's for sure.

“We can check and adjust the car, like we did for this week [in Kenya], and we can try to make it last longer. But yes, [there are] a lot of question marks.”

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