Rookie Lappi wins Rally Fin­land, Neuville takes se­ries lead

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORSPORT -

BEL­GIAN Thierry Neuville took over the world rally cham­pi­onship lead for Hyundai on Sun­day while Toy­ota’s Fin­nish rookie Es­apekka Lappi took his first win on home soil.

The 26-year-old Toy­ota Yaris driver beat Bri­tain’s El­fyn Evans, in an MS­port Ford, by 36 sec­onds in only his fourth world cham­pi­onship start and de­spite dam­ag­ing his rear-left wheel in the penul­ti­mate stage.

Fin­land’s Juho Han­ni­nen was third, a mere 0.3 be­hind, in an­other Toy­ota yaris.

Neuville fin­ished sixth but in a Hyundai i30 but ousted pre­vi­ous cham­pi­onship leader Se­bastien Ogier (Ford Fi­esta) , who crashed on Friday and was un­able to restart af­ter his co-driver Julien In­gras­sia suf­fered con­cus­sion and was signed off from com­pet­ing for 15 days.

With three ad­di­tional points from the power stage, the Bel­gian is now level with four times cham­pion Ogier on 160 points but ahead 3-2 on race wins.

“We set out to score more than Ogier this week­end, and we were able to achieve that. We had a very dif­fi­cult week­end so to sal­vage some points is cru­cial,” said Neuville.

“This lev­els the play­ing field with four events left of the sea­son, so it has been an im­por­tant re­sult.”

- Reuters

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