Rally Monte-Carlo 2023: Esapekka Lappi – “I’m confident we can have good pace”

The Flying Finn Esapekka Lappi the team has postponed for 2023 FIA World Rally Championship season as he is now set to debut for the South Korean manufacturer and the Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT in Monte Carlo Rally next weekend.

Lappi is the only driver on the grid for the season opener who has driven for four different manufacturers in the last five seasons. He came to it Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT for the 2017 season, in which he also celebrated his first and so far only victory in his home rally Rally Finland.

After the 2018 season, Lappi joined Citroën Racing for one season and had a reasonably good end of the season finishing 10th overall. After that he joined M Sport Ford WRT in an all-Finnish line-up for the 2020 season Teemu Suninen in the second Ford Fiesta WRC. Lappi managed to get his best Monte-Carlo Rally to finish that season in fourth place, but he was later dropped from the line-up after a year.

In the 2021 season he returned to the WRC2 class, in which he had already won a title in 2016 Skoda Motorsport. He won the two rallies he entered film sports flag on Arctic Rally Finland and Rally de Portugal. For the 2022 season, he returned to Toyota for a part-time program in the third Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, sharing the seat with the eight-time champion Sebastien Ogier and secured three podium places.

Photo credit: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

He is now back in WRC full-time as he replaces Ott Tanak in the Hyundai team as the Estonian has signed with M-Sport for this season.

“The Monte-Carlo Rally changed venues last year; it was getting closer to Monaco and there was a little less snow and ice than before. I don’t know if that will also be the case this year, but if it is, then it will certainly make it easier for us because we also have to learn a whole new car.” said Lappi.

“Thursday nights are always pretty tense – I have to say it’s not the best feeling going up the hill in the dark on slick tires in possibly icy conditions! There is excitement, but also a bit of fear. But it is something very special and the next morning you feel more comfortable – at least in your attitude.”

“I look forward to starting this adventure with a new team. I’ll only have one day of testing on tarmac, but I’ll go there with my mind open and not give up before we’ve even started. I am confident that we will have good pace – maybe not from the very first stage but we will certainly develop a lot during the weekend and hopefully finish well.”


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