Lappi: ERC allowed me to take the next step
Esapekka Lappi, who begins his FIA World Rally Championship bid on Rallye Monte-Carlo later today (Thursday), has spoken about how his title-winning stint in the ERC helped him to progress to and ultimately win at world level.
Lappi won the FIA European Rally Championship in 2014, his first full season in the series, following success at national level in his native Finland. He moved into the world championship with ŠKODA the following season and has driven in the World Rally Car category since 2017, winning with Toyota.
For 2020, Lappi is joining the Ford-supported M-Sport squad. But ahead of his first event with the British outfit, the Finn recalled his time spent in the ERC, which began with a debut victory on Rally Poland in September 2012.
“When you have a good competition, it teaches you a lot,” said Lappi. “In the European championship the level was high and we did a lot of rallies on Tarmac. For a Finnish driver this was very important, it was really good for the learning and what I did in the European championship allowed me to take the next step.”
As well as achieving success – he won five European championship rounds – Lappi enjoyed the atmosphere and being part of the ERC family.
“You could see different locations where normally you are not spending time,” he said. “It was also the first time I was in a factory team and you could understand how all the things are working, how to behave and what support you can have. In the ERC I could learn all that very well.”