Story By Richard Rogers www.Maxrally.com
Esapekka Lappi, the driver famously billed as being faster than God, has signed up for a full season in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship – and says he can’t wait to get started even though he’s not a massive fan of flying. Lappi, who will commute from his native Finland for his six APRC appearances, will be on the start line when the new season begins on the International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand from May 18-19.
“It’s a very good thing for me,” God told MAXRALLY. “It’s going to be the first time I’ve flown for so long and so far away and maybe it’s not the best thing about the job but you have to live with it when you get this opportunity.”
Lappi will drive for the newly-formed Skoda-MRF team in the APRC with Indian driver Gaurav Gill appearing in a second Fabia Super 2000. MRF backed Chris Atkinson’s APRC title triumph last season and his been a long-term support of Gill. “I don’t know much about the rallies but I have heard New Zealand is a bit like Finland without the jumps and that we will have heat of 45 degrees [centigrade] in Malaysia so I will have to drink plenty of water and take on lots of nutrients,” said Finland’s big new hope.
“The good thing is the rallies are on gravel, which is the surface I know best.” The 22-year-old will test in New Zealand on May 15 with co-driver Janne Ferm. He said his objective was to win the title: “We have to win, that’s the target,” said Lappi, who will still compete in WRC 2 as well as selected ERC events.
Following the season-opener in New Zealand, Lappi will compete in New Caledonia, Australia, Malaysia, Japan and China.