Today is a big day for Esapekka Lappi.
The day where he hopes to make his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 a Rally Finland winner.
Straight off the back of a fourth podium of the World Rally Championship season from eight rounds, Lappi is hungry for more.
Estonia was, by all accounts, a positive event for Lappi and Hyundai. Kalle Rovanperä and Toyota ended up running away with it, but second and third on the podium for the team was more than perhaps expected.
“For sure it was a very easy handling car all the weekend,” Lappi told DirtFish. “Otherwise I think you can’t do as consistent throughout the three days as what we did.
“And yeah, it’s the first time for me ever that I’ve done three days flat-out. Normally always the rally ends on Friday or Saturday, the fights are ending, and then it’s nothing to fight for on Sunday except the powerstage.
“But now it didn’t happen, so I also need to be pleased with that and we could do without the mistakes on all three days on such a high-speed rally.
“So this is also a step again forward on my performance level.”
But there’s no room for complacency in professional sport. A step in the right direction Estonia may have been, but there’s still more to do.
Lappi confirmed “front geometry, rear geometry, rear wing, dampers and brakes” had all been altered on the Hyundai lately, but that’s not enough.
“My test day is the day after tomorrow, so it’s coming quite soon,” Lappi said on Sunday.
“Let’s say I know where the problem is at the moment, where we are losing. We have a very good engineering team who can analyze the things very quickly throughout the weekend: already in the afternoon, or in the evening from that day. So we know what we should do.
“For sure we try to do improvements on Tuesday. And yeah, it’s not impossible – as we saw last year that Hyundai was a bit lost in this rally [Estonia] last year, and then they won in Finland.
“So it is possible to make a turnover on the spot, but let’s see can we do it this year.”
Asked what he was looking for specifically, Lappi revealed that more grip is the focus.
“You need big brains to understand where to get that,” he said.
“For sure we can make a lot of grip on the car, but then you lose all the reactivity, you lose how precise it is.
“So that’s the most difficult thing: to keep it very precise, and still have grip.”
Thierry Neuville was a touch more cryptic than his team-mate when discussing where the i20 could be further improved.
“I made a long list this morning which I sent to my engineer because they are preparing the test and we are testing from Wednesday or Thursday, so the list has gone to the engineers and they’re going to work on that,” Neuville told DirtFish.
What’s top of the list?
“A lot of things, I’m not going to tell you!”