More drivers would make WRC a ‘proper series’ – Lappi

M-Sport driver believes 2022 WRC regulations can help boost entry numbers in top class

WRC México 2020

Esapekka Lappi hopes that simplified cars will make the World Rally championship a “proper series” by boosting entry numbers at the top level of rallying.

Citroën’s withdrawal at the end of the 2019 season left only eight full-time cars in the 2020 WRC field, though numbers have been topped up to double digits on individual rallies by part-time campaigners like M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith and Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta.

Increased expense associated with running the current-spec WRC cars has made them prohibitively expensive for most privateers, further restricting numbers.

Lappi hopes that a more affordable approach involving simpler cars and shorter rally formats would make for a more competitive championship.

“For sure it would be more interesting for us, as the drivers, and also for the spectators and the fans if there was 20 drivers,” the M-Sport driver told DirtFish Debates.

“Then it would be a proper series, as now we are a little bit lacking the number of drivers.”

“I’m sure we can still keep the speed and probably keep the safety as well even if we make the cars more simple.

Question marks remain over the 2022 regulations as the long-term impact of COVID-19 on rallying becomes clearer.

Several paddock figures – including Hyundai’s Craig Breen – have suggested a Rally2-based formula is the way forward, something Lappi believes could help boost numbers.

“We just need to find a good compromise, but for sure it would be really good for the sport if we could have like a minimum of 15 drivers.

“Then there would be a place for every talented driver. Well, not every. But anyway, that will be a good idea.”