Lappi’s verdict on life at M-Sport so far

Two top-five finishes get 2020 off to an encouraging start

Esapekka Lappi M-Sport Ford Rally Sweden WRC 2020

Esapekka Lappi says he and M-Sport Ford are “missing just the last bit” of performance at this stage of the 2020 World Rally Championship.

Former Toyota and Citroën works driver Lappi landed at M-Sport for this season following Citroën’s abrupt WRC exit.

Though he has yet to finish on the podium with his new team, he took a quietly impressive fourth and fifth in Monte Carlo and Sweden respectively, steadily improving his pace through each really.

Lappi admitted that his speed was not yet what he had hoped for, but doesn’t think he is far away from a breakthrough.

“Both the rallies have been quite consistent, but [Sweden] was even more than Monte really,” he told DirtFish’s Colin Clark.

“I need to be pleased with the performance, to be honest.

“OK, I’m not where I wanted to be, I really wanted to fight for the podium.

“But we are not far away. But missing just the last bit, to be honest.”

He felt his Saturday pace in Sweden – when he consolidated fifth by inching away from pre-event championship leader Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai – was particularly encouraging.

“This is something that we can bring on on the next rally,” Lappi added.

“I’m sure the settings will work on gravel as well.

“Always if you can beat Neuville, it’s good.

“I think it’s going really according to the plan.

“There haven’t been any major issues, not from my side, not from the car side, so it’s all looking quite good.”