WRC Rookie Esapekka Lappi Triumphs At Rally Finland

WRC Rookie
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The reigning WRC2 champion, Esapekka Lappi, began leading the Finnish event on Saturday when Toyota team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala retired with ECU failure. Driving the Yaris WRC, Latvala started pulling away from Lappi during Saturday stages. The gap was up to 8.5 seconds when he retired leaving Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm to comfortably on top.

Despite drama near the finish when Lappi was involved in a minor crash that ripped the rim off his rear on the second-to-last stage, he completed first with a 36 seconds gap to second position. It was a tough battle for the second step of the podium as on the powerstage Elfyn Evans overturned a 0.9s deficit to Juho Hanninen to prevent a Toyota 1-2.

Evans struggled on Friday but later brought his Ford Fiesta WRC back into the fight. Another rookie in Teemu Suninen held second till the penultimate stage but ended up in a mistake to finish only fourth on only his second WRC event in a 2017 machine. Craig Breen was the highest placed Citroen while Thierry Neuville took sixth courtesy of third place on the powerstage. He drew level with Sebastien Ogier at the top of the World Rally Championship standings.

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