WRC stars mak­ing the leap at Fafe

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - FIND A -

FOR many, the high­light of this week­end’s Voda­fone Rally de Por­tu­gal is the fi­nal leg stom­ach-churn­ing leap over the mas­sive Fafe jump – one of the WRC’s iconic lo­ca­tions.

Huge crowds will throng the road­side to watch the cham­pi­onship’s high-fliers soar sky­wards through a dou­ble pass of the 11.18km speed test – and this year’s en­counter should bring to­gether the two prin­ci­pal pi­lots of the WRC’s big-air ex­po­nents.

On one side is Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing’s award-win­ning Es­apekka Lappi. WRC TV’s cov­er­age of Lappi’s leap in Fafe last year was named the best ac­tion mo­ment of the mo­tor­sport sea­son at the FIA’s prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony.

The look on Lappi’s face and the re­lieved laugh­ter from co­driver Janne Ferm said it all af­ter their Toy­ota Yaris’ 33me­tre, 120km/h jump, which Lappi landed on one wheel.

Op­pos­ing him is Mads Øst­berg, who flew his Citroën C3 to a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Colin’s Crest Award at Fe­bru­ary’s Rally Swe­den.

Mad Mads’ 42-me­tre jump over the crest close to the end of the Vargåsen stage matched his 2017 dis­tance to re­tain the award, pre­sented in hon­our of 1995 world cham­pion Colin McRae to the driver who flies fur­thest.

Lappi views the rally as the start of a new chap­ter in his ca­reer.

“Por­tu­gal is where I started to com­pete in a World Rally Car last year so I think ev­ery­thing should be a lit­tle bit eas­ier from this point on­wards,” Lappi said. “In the first part of the sea­son there were ups and downs, but I was pretty sur­prised with how good the speed was in some events. There were many pos­i­tives and we just need to try to learn from the neg­a­tive mo­ments.”

Photo: Hugo Delgado

Cur­rent WRC leader Se­bastien Ogier makes the fa­mous jump at Fafe in Por­tu­gal last year.

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