Restaurant visit helped Lappi keep WRC Acropolis Rally alive

The Finnish driver’s i20 N Rally 1 car suffered a radiator leak thought to have been triggered by a nasty compression during the Loutraki stage.

Lappi was forced to pull over after completing stage four to conduct repairs where he was able to limit the loss of water.

As water continued to escape from his car Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm secured some water bottles at the stage end to re-fill the car’s radiator. However, an unscheduled trip to a restaurant was required to safely complete the remaining two stages.

“I think I made the leak a bit smaller but every 30 kilometres I needed two litres of water,” said Lappi.

“I could get water from the stage ends as we could get bottles and then once we stopped at a restaurant on a road section. There was a tap outside of the restaurant and we filled the bottles.

“It was not crucial but it was just to make sure we had enough [water] for the stage.”

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: Red Bull Content Pool

The restaurant stop helped Lappi reach the Lamia service park sitting in fifth overall, 32.1s behind team-mate and rally leader Thierry Neuville.

This isn’t the first time Lappi has had to think on his feet to keep a rally alive. Last year, while driving for Toyota at Rally Finland, he was forced to stop at a nearby lake to fetch water to re-fill a damaged radiator, a decision which helped the Finn claim third position.

Reflecting on his Friday in Greece, Lappi felt the leaking radiator wasn’t completely to blame for his lack of pace.

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“The car was okay. My performance wasn’t just down to that [the leaking radiator],” he added.

“I just didn’t feel good today, set-up wise. I need to go back to what I know from the past it works. It might give me a little bit less grip but I’m sure I can push harder.”

The Acropolis Rally continues with crews set to face a further six stages on Saturday.

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