M Sport Ford WRC team’s Esapekka Lappi heads to Sweden next weekend aiming to build on a strong start to his FIA World Rally Championship season in Monte Carlo last month.
The Finn heads to familiar territory of ice and snow for Rally Sweden and speaking ahead of the event he said:
I’ve had some good results at Rally Sweden – especially last year when we finished second on our second event with a new car so let’s see if we can do the same again this year! Of course the competition will be strong and no one really knows what the conditions will be like, but we will give it our best.
“We’re testing this weekend when we’ll get our first indication of what to expect. The Swedish stages are always fast, which I enjoy, but there could only be a small layer of ice which will make tyre management pretty important when it comes to retaining the studs for the whole loop. Fourth on the road could be a decent position, but let’s wait and see.”
In his four previous starts here, Teemu Suninen has a best finish of eighth place coming in 2018 and speaking ahead of the event he said:
“Last year we found a good set-up for the soft snow and rutted conditions, and it worked really well for us – leading after the first full day and showing good speed throughout the weekend. This year the plan is to show that same speed consistently and without mistakes.
“Of course a lot will depend on the weather. It’s great that the organisers have been able to make the rally happen, but we will have to wait and see what the conditions are like. I’m hoping for snow, and we’ll have a test this weekend to prepare. Whatever the weather, we will give it our best and I hope to be in a good battle.”
M Sport Ford WRC Team Principal Richard Milener said:
Rally Sweden is an iconic event in the FIA World Rally Championship, and I think we’re all grateful to Glenn [Olsson, Rally Sweden CEO] and his team for all their hard work in ensuring it goes ahead in what have been some very challenging conditions. It’s not been easy with the mild weather, but the organisers have been extremely proactive over the last few weeks – working closely with the teams and the FIA and ensuring everything’s in place to deliver another close-fought rally. It will be a very different event to what we’re used to, but the main thing is that we will have an event.
“Historically this has always been a strong rally for us, and we’re confident of another strong showing next week. Esapekka and Teemu both did well here last year – Esapekka claiming the runner-up spot and Teemu leading a rally for the first time in his career. The Fiesta was also very competitive with five stage wins, and we plan to replicate that this year. Due to delays with the event finalisation, the team will get their first taste of the conditions at a pre-event test this weekend – but that should give us an accurate and up-to-date view of the expected conditions; and we’re ready show what we can do.”