Lappi feeling pretty confident about 2023 WRC seat

Esapekka Lappi has confirmed negotiations to remain with Toyota in the World Rally Championship are underway and is feeling “pretty” confident about his 2023 plans.

Lappi feeling pretty confident about 2023 WRC seat
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The Finn returned to rallying’s top tier this season after securing a part-time drive with Toyota, sharing the third GR Yaris entry with eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier.

Lappi’s return to Toyota, where he began his WRC career in 2017, was made possible by an opening in the driver line-up being created following Ogier’s decision to scale back his rally commitments to spend more time with family, and to explore opportunities in sportscar racing.

As a result, Lappi contested seven rallies where he challenged for victories and scored three podium finishes to help Toyota’s bid to retain the manufacturers’ crown.

Lappi’s 2022 programme has now come to an end, following the Acropolis Rally earlier this month, with Ogier officially confirmed this week as the driver of the third car for the remaining events in New Zealand, Spain and Japan.

While his future at the team is yet to be resolved for next year, Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala is keen to retain the squad’s four car driver line-up of Kalle Rovanpera, Elfyn Evans, Lappi/Ogier and Takamoto Katsuta for 2023.

Speaking to media including Motorsport.com about his 2022 campaign, Lappi confirmed that talks to secure a new deal are underway, and although nothing is confirmed, the 31-year-old is feeling optimistic.

“We have already started slightly to negotiate about it, so I’m feeling positive definitely,” said Lappi.

“For sure, if I feel positive about it and I want to stay in the team and then if Jari-Matti is saying he wants me in the team I think that is a good combination. So I’m feeling pretty confident we can stay.

“But about the programme? I don’t know at all, so let’s wait and see.”

“We have already started slightly to negotiate about it, so I’m feeling positive definitely,” Lappi.

“We have already started slightly to negotiate about it, so I’m feeling positive definitely,” Lappi.

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Regarding a possible 2023 programme, Lappi says he is open minded but can see the benefits of contesting a part-time campaign.

“There is two sides. The other side is the family that definitely likes it this way, and I like it as well, it a good balance between family and the professional life,” he added.

“On the other hand I could see and felt that when I did back-to-back races or the last four in a row, it influenced me that I can be a bit better and sharper. In terms of that it would be nice to have more events.

“Now it is going to be a long break if I can continue next year, that is not good but like I said there is two sides.”

Should a continuation of his 2022 arrangement with Toyota come to fruition, it is likely Lappi won’t be back behind the wheel competitively until Rally Sweden in February next year.

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