Maiden vic­tory for Lappi

Muscat Daily - - PRESS RELEASES -

Jyväskylä, Fin­land - Es­apekka Lappi earned his first ever vic­tory in seal­ing the Rally of Fin­land in his home­land on Sun­day ahead of Bri­ton El­fyn Evans and com­pa­triot Juho Han­ni­nen.

Bel­gian Thierry Neuville took over the World Rally Cham­pi­onship lead from French­man Se­bastien Ogier de­spite fin­ish­ing only sixth.

Ogier had been forced to aban­don the race on Fri­day fol­low­ing a crash and scored no points.

But in fin­ish­ing sixth in the race and third in the power stage, he took 11 points to draw level with Ogier on 160, and goes ahead by virtue of three rally vic­to­ries to two this sea­son.

Lappi was com­pet­ing in only his fourth rally. He won a spe­cial in his sec­ond rally, in Sar­dinia, and now just four races into his ca­reer has claimed his home rally too.

The 26 year old had led at the end of Fri­day's eight spe­cials be­fore los­ing the lead to Toy­ota team­mate and com­pa­triot Jari-Matti Lat­vala.

But Lat­vala broke down on the 19th stage, end­ing his hopes of a fourth vic­tory in the Rally of Fin­land, and Lappi never looked back.

Ogier suf­fered a set­back af­ter co-driver Julien In­gras­sia suf­fered head in­juries in a crash.

Ogier and In­gras­sia were both taken to hos­pi­tal for tests af­ter their Ford Fi­esta went off the road fol­low­ing a col­li­sion with trees on the fourth stage.

On Satur­day, med­i­cal of­fi­cials signed off In­gras­sia from rac­ing for two weeks af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with mild con­cus­sion.

The de­ci­sion was then con­firmed later when In­gras­sia un­der­went fur­ther tests.

(AFP)

Es­apekka Lappi in ac­tion in his Toy­ota Yaris WRC dur­ing the Rally of Fin­land in Jyväskylä, Fin­land, on Sun­day

(AFP)

Fin­nish driver Es­apekka Lappi sits in the cock­pit of his car

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