Latvala understands Lappi's decision to join Hyundai in 2023

The team principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Jari-Matti Latvala, says that the team was surprised by Esapekka Lappi's move to Hyundai Motorsport for 2023, but he can understand the last one's decision.

Hyundai Motorsport and Toyota announced their drivers for next season the same day and the shocking move was that of Lappi who decided to leave the Japanese team and to drive a i20N Rally1 for 2023. However, Toyota wanted to retain the same drivers and to offer a partial programme to EP, but Hyundai offered a full-season programme to the last one, therefore he preferred to join Thierryy Neuville and to replace Ott Tanak.

Last but not least, it must be mentioned that Lappi has left Toyota two times as he signed a contract with Citroen Racing for season 2019 while he rejoined Toyota in 2022 as part-time driver, but now he departured from the Japanese team for second time.

"In all fairness, what happened is when Ott left, I think it gave a bit of a surprise for everybody", Latvala said.

"So, Hyundai needed a driver, and Hyundai did an offer for Esapekka, they did a good offer for Esapekka.

"We at that point had started to negotiate about 2023, and it was in some point I told you ‘why to change the drivers if you win the championship, so you should continue with the same drivers’. 

"And that was basically our target.

"But this was a surprise for us that Hyundai came with the offer for EP, and you know that we could basically only offer half a season, but Hyundai was offering him a full season.

"So of course, in our position we couldn’t compete with that, so I think it was then Esapekka decided to go to Hyundai, and he could do a full season.

"So, things went very quickly forward on that when this started to happen. 

"I think this was clear about two or three weeks ago that Esapekka would go to Hyundai".


Photo Credits: Toyota

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post