Mon 19 Feb 2024

Lappi pays thanks to ‘friendly’ snowbanks

Rally Sweden winner Esapekka Lappi has thanked the snowbanks and his Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul for helping him to victory in Umeå on Sunday.

Lappi’s future with the Korean manufacturer came under close scrutiny in the second half of last season, but Abiteboul’s decision to stick with the Finn paid dividends with a second career win - more than six years after the first - and a first in the frozen snows of Sweden.


Lappi took the lead on the penultimate Friday stage, faced down a threat from Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Takamoto Katsuta and then controlled proceedings through the weekend. 


The smiling winner said: “This feels so good right now. I have been hunting for this second victory for quite a while.

“I have to say a big thanks to Cyril for keeping me in the team after a difficult second half of my 2023 season; this moment is such a huge contrast to that.

A massive thank you to the team, and to my family at home as well. We are all here to win and when you achieve it, it is the best feeling in the world.”

And the snowbanks? “They can be your friend or your enemy,” he said. “This week they were my friend. I paid them well.”

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