Lappi won’t need advice to wrap up drought-ending WRC win in Sweden

Lappi will take a 1m06.3s lead over M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux into the final three tests after an impressive drive through 15 of the 18 challenging snow-covered stages.

Should Lappi triumph on Sunday it would mark only his second career WRC win following a maiden success at Rally Finland in 2017, when he was driving for Toyota.

Victory would also add to Hyundai’s strong start to the 2024 season after Thierry Neuville won last month’s season opener in Monte Carlo.

Watch: Rally Sweden Saturday Afternoon Highlights

Abiteboul has been impressed by Lappi’s performance on his first outing of the season in Hyundai’s third car, and believes he won’t need much advice to secure the victory on Sunday.

“He has to secure that [the win and bring it home first], but at the same time he also needs to find the right pace to have the right momentum and the right mindset,” said Abiteboul when asked what he will say to his driver ahead of tomorrow’s stages.

“I remember actually in Mexico [last year when he was leading] when he hit the pole, he was saying that he wasn’t necessarily attacking the way he needed to attack.

“I don’t need to say much [to him]. He knows that I didn’t sleep last night, I’m not expecting to sleep tonight, so he knows that it’s important for all of us.

“It will be great from a manufacturer’s perspective, but again he has to compete the work first.

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

“He’s been strong when it mattered and been patient when it mattered. Let’s see, I don’t want to overrate his performance because he has to nail it down. He has to complete the work and deliver.

“The only thing is, he is not smiling enough to my liking, but he reminded me he’s a Finnish guy so he’s normal. He’s at the maximum.”

Having built up a healthy lead after main rally rival Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta retired on stage 10, Lappi says he is trying to keep a lid on his emotions.

“I don’t want to think about it. Let’s try to enjoy it and then if it’s done,” he said.

“I’m not fighting for the championship, so I don’t really need the points from the Sunday. So the main goal is very clear.”

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