A strong performance on the final day of Rally Portugal, with two stage victories, resulted in Toyota Yaris WRC driver Esapekka Lappi finishing fifth in the rally. Jari-Matti Latvala, Lappi’s team-mate also contributed to the team’s total of six points, taking the third stage win.
Portugal rally’s last day had five short stages in the Fafe region. Here Lappi took off recording a stage win on the opening test to move up from fifth to fourth overall. Over the next couple of stages, he traded the position with Dani Sordo. After the rally, he was given a 10-second time penalty for an infringement on an evening’s street stage, which dropped him back to fifth. He, however, claimed victory on the rally-ending Power Stage, claiming five bonus points to move up to fifth in the drivers’ championship.
On the middle stage of the day, Luilhas Toyota claimed a one-two in the stage. Latvala posted the quickest time and Lappi came close behind.
The team’s principal, Tommi Mäkinen, was impressed and said that it is good to have finished Rally Portugal on a positive note. Friday was disappointing for everybody. A positive was finding Jari-Matti return to form and for him to get two good clean days behind the wheel. Esapekka did very well to challenge for the podium, and he had a great fight against Teemu Suninen: it was nice to see these two young Finns pushing each other so hard. Esapekka didn’t win the battle on this occasion, but he still managed to get five points from the Power Stage, which was really a good reward for his effort over the past two days. Overall, we will try to learn from this weekend and be stronger next time.
Latvala said happily with the stage win. He said that he was happy though because the confidence is improving a lot. It meant that the team could learn much Esapekka Lappi was, however, not very happy, commenting that the going was flat. Lappi was pleased to take five points from the Power Stage as well. The driver now has half of the Power Stages this year, and this is important, because the three stages has logged 15 points.