Wed 26 Jul 2023

Kalle on another level, Lappi admits

Esapekka Lappi was full of praise for fellow Finn Kalle Rovanperä after the youngster dominated last week’s Rally Estonia.

Lappi achieved his fourth podium of the season behind the wheel of a Hyundai i20 N but still trailed Rovanperä, who won 15 stages of the rally in a Toyota GR Yaris, by almost a minute at the finish.

When quizzed on where he thought Rovanperä had managed to gain so much time, Lappi was very open with his answer.

“It’s about Kalle, it’s not about the machine,” lauded the 32-year-old. “For sure, I would have no chance even with the same car and same settings as him, or even with the perfect settings for me.

“I watch the onboards, but it’s still hard to understand. I mean, even the biggest gaps are not massive here [in Estonia], and for example even if they have more traction or something you cannot see it on the onboard.

“It’s very hard to recognise where they are gaining time. It is possible to find some small things, but in the end those are only making a few tenths. The massive gaps are harder to recognise.”

Lappi, currently sixth in the FIA World Rally Championship standings, will have the chance to exert revenge on his rival when they do battle at Secto Rally Finland next week (3 - 6 August).

Despite living locally to the Jyväskylä service park it will be business as usual for the Finn, winner of the event in 2017.

“It’s really close to my home,” he said, “but I will be there from Monday and I will approach it as a normal event like always.

“It doesn’t really make sense to go back home in the evenings as we have a lot of work to do with the videos anyway and there are early morning starts. It’s just a normal rally with all the same things as in any other.”

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