Lappi explains his Rally Finland crash

Hyundai driver believes a pacenote error led to his SS5 accident

2023FINLAND _FD_ 169

Esapekka Lappi has confirmed he did not sustain any serious injuries in his SS5 crash on Rally Finland, and the chassis of his Hyundai is fine, but he doubts he will rejoin the rally.

Lappi had been in fourth place prior to the crash, just 0.3 seconds away from a podium position, but crashed on the final stage before morning service when his Hyundai left the road and headed into the trees.

The Finn revealed that his ankle “is a bit swollen but not broken” after he hit it on the rollcage.

“To be honest I don’t know where, but somewhere in the car,” he said, after being spotted limping in the service park.

“First thing I said to Janne [Ferm, co-driver] when we stopped, and I saw that he’s moving, I said ‘OK, we’re alive’. So it was quite scary, when I realized that we are going straight to the trees, and my side first. It was not a nice moment.”

So what caused the crash?

“We went into the trees, but it’s just fully a pacenote mistake,” Lappi admitted.

“I had too optimistic a pacenote for the right-hand corner, which we managed to do half of the corner but we went completely out straight. I mean OK, yeah on the left the rear was hanging a bit, but still even the pacenote would have been correct on the right, still we would not make it. So yeah, too fast and wrong information from my idea when we did the recce. So… a mistake.”

Despite looking fast before that, Lappi was not happy with his pace on his home event.

“I wanted to be more close to the front, or lead. So I wasn’t really, really satisfied, as probably you could hear from the stage-end interviews as well. I mean it was not bad, but I wanted more. I didn’t come here to fight only for the third place or fourth place, so I was not really satisfied.”

So will he be seen on the stages again later in the rally?

“I really guess it’s game over,” said a pessimistic Lappi. “I mean the chassis is for sure pretty fine, but I guess the engine is quite bad as we went straight front-first to the trees.

“The rear also touched the trees, but it’s only fabric, or carbon, so this is easy to fix. I mean all the sides are fine, the doors are untouched, so it’s just the front.

“But I guess there is something broken on the engine or the gearbox. I don’t know, to be honest, but there is a lot of stuff next to the car not attached. So I don’t believe we will continue.”