Esapekka Lappi, 32, will drive in the World Rally Championship part-time next season. This was confirmed recently when Hyundai’s team announced their plans for next season.
Hyundai’s regular drivers are a 35-year-old Belgian driver Thierry Neuville and a 36-year-old Estonian star Ott Tänak. Lapland alternates in World Cup rallies in Hyundai’s third drive, the 40-year-old Spanish champion Daniel Sordon and Norwegian by Andreas Mikkelsen34, with.
Even last season, Lappi drove a complete World Cup program with Hyundai. In the 2022 season, Lappi also drove Toyota part-time.
Lapland flashed his skills last season, but in the overall picture, his level of performance remained weak. Disappointing outings also accumulated. He was sixth in the World Championship points.
“Of course I’m really competitive in part, but on the other hand my season was two-part. At times I did a good job – the middle of the season was really promising and good. The beginning of the season was a bit of learning and the end of the season was really bad,” Lappi repeated to the Dirtfish site.
“I didn’t deserve the number one driver’s place. I made so many mistakes that I didn’t deserve it,” Lappi continued.
Lap has reportedly asked Hyundai himself that he could only drive some of the races next season.
He believes that a lighter competition program than before will help him towards even better results.
“Professionally there are always a lot of pressures, but there are also personally (in civilian life). My children miss me a lot and that is a problem. I want to be there for them.”
“It has stressed me out a lot. I’m not saying it’s the reason for the poor results, but it definitely has an effect,” Lappi said.
LAPLAND has been rallying as a professional for years. His breakthrough came in 2012, when he took the rally SM series championship after winning all the races.
This was followed by a contract with Skoda, European Championship gold in 2014 and the World Series WRC2 class championship in 2016. In the main class of the World Series, he has won one race and taken a total of 14 podium places.