Lappi explains cause of CER crash

The Hyundai driver was one of the most confident on the wet stages, until he slid off

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Esapekka Lappi has explained what caused him to crash out of second place on the Central European Rally.

Lappi’s weekend had started frustratingly with a 10-second jump-start penalty on SS1 on Thursday, but the Finn set impressive pace on Friday’s first two stages to climb up to third overall behind rally leader Kalle Rovanperä.

But it all went wrong for the Hyundai driver less than a mile onto SS5 when Lappi crashed out of the event.

“We hit the tree with the rear-right and then the front-left as well. We were spinning around,” he told DirtFish.

Asked what exactly went wrong, he added: “I guess quick analyze would be that on the braking I touched the brake and I lost the rear on the braking because it’s a short corner – fairly fast but short corner so immediately when I touched the brake pedal I started to slide and I think I was maybe too much on the edge of the road.

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“A little bit like braking on paint in Formula 1, on the edge. I have no other explanation why as I lost it already very early.”

The frustrating thing is it had all been looking so effortless for Lappi.

“Yeah I feel exactly like that,” he said. “We were very surprised about the times we had yesterday already and this morning as well, but yeah it all came very naturally all the time.

“So I’m also very surprised what actually happened.”

It’s Lappi’s second crash in as many events after he shunted on the first stage of Rally Chile. But Lappi – who still doesn’t have a confirmed program for 2024 – doesn’t forsee this latest setback as impacting his shot at a Hyundai drive for next season.

“I really don’t think so,” he said.

Lappi and Janne Ferm will not return to action on Saturday.