Lappi’s theory for how to slow down Rovanperä

Hyundai driver reckons he has the answer for how to match world champion's pace


Esapekka Lappi has been a long-term admirer of his fellow Finn Kalle Rovanperä.

After witnessing his then team-mate produce that stunning powerstage performance in Croatia last year, Lappi described him as “next level” and then pointed to the sky.

“I have no idea how he is doing it,” he said, “I would like to do the same.”

Since, Lappi has moved himself onto a more level playing field with a full-time Hyundai program which is unleashing the best from him.

At the moment, it certainly appears that he’s performing better than he ever has done in his World Rally Championship career – a sentiment Lappi concurred with.

“I agree.”

But still he’s not quite been able to match Rovanperä’s level – something which frustrated him on last weekend’s Rally Estonia.

“I would like to match Kalle at some point,” Lappi said in the post-event press conference, pointing towards the winner Rovanperä. “But it’s difficult as we cannot even match or be even close, and that’s a bit of a shame.”


What do you need to do to be able to catch him?

The answer wasn’t something anybody was expecting…

“We need to make him a father!” said Lappi, with his typical dead-pan look.


“I don’t know, is he already?” Esapekka grinned, looking over at Kalle.

“But that’s the only difference,” Lappi added, arms wide open. “Except the age and the stuff, but he doesn’t have kids so he can give full throttle!”

Rovanperä is known for his commitment, but perhaps on the stages rather than off them. That’s not the kind of commitment you’re ready for, is it Kalle?

“I don’t think so.”

And he wasn’t having any of Lappi’s excuses.

“And I think anyway me and Esapekka both have, not the same but a similar throttle pedal. He can also keep it… full? I don’t know,” Rovanperä said, looking genuinely confused.


“The kids are not lifting it [the throttle] up,” he added, lifting his hand in gesture and looking over at Lappi with a straight face, before a cheesy smile crept across his face.

“Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi,” Lappi grinned.

It was a classic exchange said in great jest, but you heard it here first.

If Kalle Rovanperä ever becomes a father, let’s see how fast he is in a rally car…