How did Lappi manage to defend his 4th place over Katsuta on Sunday?

Esapekka Lappi reveals that his pace was getting better and better day by day and he had to do a small change to the suspension set-up to hold his fourth place at Rally Japan.

It was the first time for the Finn that he competed at Rally Japan and, despite the severe weather and the road conditions, he managed to finish in fourth place overall and to be the top Hyundai driver as Thierry Neuville finished outside the top ten and Dani Sordo was forced to retire for the rest of the week following his crash in Stage 2. EP was struggling to find pace with his i20N on the wet tarmac stages and was seventh place overall after the end of Stage 8 behind the WRC2 trio (Andreas Mikkelsen, Gregoire Munster and Nikolay Gryazin), but he gained three places on Saturday morning and to climb to fourth. His gap from the third Kalle Rovanpera was more than one minute, but the fifth Takamoto Katsuta gave a hard battle with EP to do the 1-2-3-4 for Toyota. Although, Katsuta was faster than EP on Saturday stages and on Sunday morning, Hyundai mechanics made some adjustments to the suspension set-up of car No.4, thus Lappi and Janne Ferm managed to spoil the Toyotas on the overall classification and to keep their fourth position. 

"My pace was getting better and better day by day", Lappi said. 

"On Sunday morning, I was not really satisfied, I felt I was really driving on the limit of the grip and I couldn’t match the times of Katsuta, especially on the wet tyres. 

"At the tyre fitting, we made a change with the suspension set-up just to try something else, and it worked. 

"In the end, I think we found something at the right time to stop him, which was important for that fight. It is good to finish the final rally without any damage to the car. 

"I think my season has been 50/50; at the beginning I was learning a lot, the middle of the season was really good, but the end was not so strong. 

"I’m looking forward to coming back even better in 2024".

Photo Credits: Hyundai

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