Toyota target Lappi clinches WRC2 title with Australia win

Esapekka Lappi, who has been strongly linked to a spot in Toyota's WRC programme next year, took the 2016 WRC2 crown following a dominant win in Rally Australia.

The Skoda factory driver topped 21 out of 23 stages and beat runner-up Nicolas Fuchs by more than four and a half minutes.

Lappi, who was fourth in the series last year, had a slow start to his 2016 campaign as he lost the chance to win in Sweden after a spin and went off road in Italy to only take ninth.

He led Rally Poland early on before dropping down due to mechanical issues but Lappi revitalized his campaign by dominating both in Finland and Germany.

He won in Wales as well, which put him 13 points behind joint leaders Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen before the final round.

As both of the aforementioned drivers already entered the maximum allowed seven rallies, Lappi was the only title contender to go to Australia.

"I feel relieved and really, really happy. Everyone in our team deserves the title, they have worked hard with the Fabia R5 for the past three years and they gave me the best car," said Lappi.

"Okay, we had some bad luck this year, but we ended with four wins in a row.

"This [Australia] wasn't an easy event - I was driving against myself and had to motivate myself in a different way.

"There were some rough sections today [Sunday], but otherwise we kept up the speed to stay concentrated and have a good feeling."

M-Sport's Evans and Suninen, who was himself recently linked with Toyota, ended up second and third in the standings ahead of Lappi's Skoda teammates Jan Kopecky and Pontus Tidemand.

Points standings:

Pos.DriverCarPoints
1  Esapekka Lappi Skoda 132 pt
2

 Elfyn Evans

Ford

120 pt
3  Teemu Suninen Skoda 120 pt
4

 Jan Kopecky

Skoda

92 pt
5

 Pontus Tidemand

Skoda

85 pt
6  Nicolas Fuchs Skoda 82 pt
7

 Hubert Ptaszek

Peugeot

57 pt
8

 Armin Kremer

Skoda

55 pt
9

 Marius Aasen

Ford

51 pt
10

 Pierre-Louis Loubet

Citroen

36 pt

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About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Australia
Drivers Esapekka Lappi
Teams Skoda Motorsport
Article type Breaking news