Lappi responds to Tänak’s Finland charge, Huttunen in trouble

Esapekka Lappi closed the lead gap to 6.2s but Jari Huttunen's Rally1 debut has gone awry


Esapekka Lappi has hit back against Ott Tänak in the fight to win Rally Finland, beating the Hyundai to win SS8, while Jari Huttunen suffered with an fuel pressure issue.

It had looked as though Tänak was going to win yet another stage having been 1.9 seconds faster than anyone else, but Lappi produced a magnificent run to beat him by 2.1s.

It means Tänak goes into the penultimate stage of the day with a 6.2s lead over Lappi.

But while the leading pair remain clear of the rest of the field, the fight for third is quickly hotting up.

Kalle Rovanperä managed to beat Elfyn Evans by 1.2s on the 9.75-mile test to close the overall gap between the pair to just one second, although the championship leader was right on the limit to manage it.


“I have been always liking this stage. Nice one. I was pushing hard,” he said.

“Being the first car I cannot do nothing more than that. It was full push, full limit everywhere. I cannot do more.”

However, one driver not on the limit was Huttunen. The M-Sport driver had been running eighth overall, but he suffered with an fuel pressure issue midway through the stage that brought him to a halt.

He momentarily managed to get going before the power cut out again, but he did eventually manage to coax the car to the end of the stage, but lost over five minutes in the process.

Craig Breen ended the stage fifth fastest, but there’s still something not entirely right with his Puma Rally1.

He lost another 3.6s to Tänak, but he did gain some time on Takamoto Katsuta to remain fifth, although the pair are separated by just six tenths of a second.

“She’s not feeling perfect,” Breen said about his car.

“We bent something in the previous one and we’re just trying to manage it. But that’s a cracking time from Tänak.”

Thierry Neuville remains seventh overall. Once again, he lost another chunk of time compared to his rivals, but he’s still struggling to find the grip possessed by his team-mate.

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“We had a good stage to be honest. I am driving at the speed I can at the moment.

“I am still not happy with the rear and I don’t know how fast I can go without losing control. It’s a fine line and I am not there yet.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet and Gus Greensmith have now been promoted to eighth and ninth overall after Huttunen’s problems.

Words:Rob Hansford