Rookie Lappi takes extraordinary Finland win
WRC Rally Finland

Rookie Lappi takes extraordinary Finland win

30/07/2017

Esapekka Lappi and Tommi Makinen's Toyota team claimed a home victory on Rally Finland in only Lappi's fourth start in a World Rally Car.

Lappi - the reigning WRC2 champion - took the lead of the event on Saturday when team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala retired with an ECU failure on his Toyota Yaris WRC.

Latvala had started to pull away from Lappi over Saturday's stages and the gap was up to 8.5 seconds when he retired on Ouninpohja, leaving Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm to manage a lead of nearly a minute over an epic battle for second place.

There was more drama near the finish as Lappi took a chunk out of the rim on the rear of his Yaris on the penultimate stage but he held on to win by 36s.

The tight battle for second was decided on the powerstage when Elfyn Evans overturned a 0.9s deficit to Lappi's team-mate Juho Hanninen to deny Toyota's Finnish driver a home one-two.

Evans had struggled on Friday, but plugged away and brought his DMACK Ford Fiesta WRC back into contention.

M-Sport's rookie Teemu Suninen had held second going onto the penultimate stage but went wide into a ditch, hit a bank and spun.

Still, he held on for fourth in only his second event in a 2017 WRC car.

Craig Breen was once again the highest-placed Citroen C3 WRC, with the team struggling on an event where last year it finished first and third with Kris Meeke and Breen.

Thierry Neuville took sixth overall but thanks to that and third place on the powerstage he draws level with Sebastien Ogier at the head of the World Rally Championship standings and leads on countback.

A heavy jump broke the suspension on Ogier's Fiesta on Friday morning, and shortly afterwards he went off and hit a tree on co-driver Julien Ingrassia's side - leaving Ingrassia concussed and ending their weekend.

Ott Tanak in the final M-Sport car had led on Friday but hit a rock and damaged a wheel.

His fightback took him to seventh, and more importantly, a powerstage win that helped team-mate Ogier's title hopes by taking points off Neuville.

Kris Meeke struggled for confidence throughout and his win last year felt a very long time ago.

He took eighth behind Tanak, heading an off-the-pace Dani Sordo.

Mads Ostberg rounded out the top 10, having been as high as third before problems and incidents.

Finn Jari Huttunen produced one of the drives of the weekend to win on his WRC2 debut in his Skoda Fabia, just his second event in an R5 car.

The European championship junior won by over two minutes, and even led the likes of former M-Sport WRC driver Eric Camilli, who was in an R5 car but not registered for points, in the overall order.

Related news

Lewis Hamilton eases to Spain win, Max Verstappen beats Sebastian Vettel to third

Lewis Hamilton eases to Spain win, Max Verstappen beats Sebastian Vettel to third

Lewis Hamilton led a comfortable Mercedes one-two at the Spanish Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen beat Sebastian Vettel to the final step of the podium.

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to pole position at Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to pole position at Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton ended Sebastian Vettel's run of pole positions by claiming top spot for the Spanish Grand Prix, while his Ferrari rival had to settle for third.

Lewis Hamilton tops session ended by huge Brendon Hartley shunt

Lewis Hamilton tops session ended by huge Brendon Hartley shunt

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in final practice at the Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes looked like the team to beat ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Lewis Hamilton edges Red Bull drivers in second practice

Lewis Hamilton edges Red Bull drivers in second practice

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix in an unusual session that featured mistakes from the top drivers on their fastest laps.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in messy opening Spanish GP practice

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in messy opening Spanish GP practice

In an incident-packed first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas dominated the timesheets as Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull end up in the barriers at Turn 4.

Marc Marquez wins in Spain and takes MotoGP lead

Marc Marquez wins in Spain and takes MotoGP lead

Marc Marquez won his home Spanish Grand Prix and took the overall MotoGP lead on Sunday after the reigning champion's main rivals collided spectacularly.

Crutchlow blasts to Spanish GP pole

Crutchlow blasts to Spanish GP pole

Cal Crutchlow broke MotoGP's Jerez track record to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Johann Zarco.

Tanak wins in Argentina, Ogier retains overall lead

Tanak wins in Argentina, Ogier retains overall lead

Ott Tanak secured his first World Rally Championship victory since joining Toyota with a commanding Rally Argentina performance.

Lewis Hamilton claims stunning win in thrilling Baku finish

Lewis Hamilton claims stunning win in thrilling Baku finish

Lewis Hamilton took his first victory of the season at a dramatic and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix after the race was turned on its head by a late collision between the Red Bulls.

RELATED NEWS

Lewis Hamilton eases to Spain win, Max Verstappen beats Sebastian Vettel to third
Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton eases to Spain win, Max Verstappen beats Sebastian Vettel to third

Lewis Hamilton led a comfortable Mercedes one-two at the Spanish Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen beat Sebastian Vettel to the final step of the podium.

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to pole position at Spanish Grand Prix
Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to pole position at Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton ended Sebastian Vettel's run of pole positions by claiming top spot for the Spanish Grand Prix, while his Ferrari rival had to settle for third.

Lewis Hamilton tops session ended by huge Brendon Hartley shunt
Spanish Grand Prix - FP3

Lewis Hamilton tops session ended by huge Brendon Hartley shunt

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in final practice at the Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes looked like the team to beat ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Lewis Hamilton edges Red Bull drivers in second practice
Spanish Grand Prix - FP2

Lewis Hamilton edges Red Bull drivers in second practice

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix in an unusual session that featured mistakes from the top drivers on their fastest laps.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in messy opening Spanish GP practice
Spanish Grand Prix - FP1

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in messy opening Spanish GP practice

In an incident-packed first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas dominated the timesheets as Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull end up in the barriers at Turn 4.

Marc Marquez wins in Spain and takes MotoGP lead
MOTOGP - Spanish GP

Marc Marquez wins in Spain and takes MotoGP lead

Marc Marquez won his home Spanish Grand Prix and took the overall MotoGP lead on Sunday after the reigning champion's main rivals collided spectacularly.

Crutchlow blasts to Spanish GP pole
MOTOGP - Spanish GP - Qualifying

Crutchlow blasts to Spanish GP pole

Cal Crutchlow broke MotoGP's Jerez track record to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Johann Zarco.

Tanak wins in Argentina, Ogier retains overall lead
Rally Argentina

Tanak wins in Argentina, Ogier retains overall lead

Ott Tanak secured his first World Rally Championship victory since joining Toyota with a commanding Rally Argentina performance.

Lewis Hamilton claims stunning win in thrilling Baku finish
Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton claims stunning win in thrilling Baku finish

Lewis Hamilton took his first victory of the season at a dramatic and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix after the race was turned on its head by a late collision between the Red Bulls.