Esapekka Lappi won the fourth round of the FIA European Rally Championship that took place in Ireland this Easter Weekend. His win at the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally is his second victory in the 2014 season. Lappi is now the third Finnish driver to win the legendary asphalt event surrounded by beautiful scenery. He joins the likes of Pentti Airikkala and Juho Hänninen.
Meanwhile, driving in his homeland, Craig Breen retired his Peugeot 208T16 on Saturday after suffering a problem with a sensor. This did not dampen the Irish celebrations as the Production Cup and 2WD wins went to Irishmen Josh Moffett and Daniel McKenna. Meanwhile, Lappi now leads the standings after the four rounds with 98 points in total. He is followed by Craig Breen who has 69 points.
It was quite a crazy weekend I have to say. I am proud of yesterday with my speed against the local guys and we kept this performance today. Yesterday was perfect, today was more or less surviving to the finish after Craig stopped and the fight ended. This was my first proper win on Tarmac and it’s my best win. It’s very good for the championship so I am happy.
Another cause of celebration for Lappi is that he also leads the ERC Asphalt Master classification which was introduced in 2014 to award the best drivers on asphalt, which he clearly knows how to handle. Irishman Robert Barrable almost had the second place overall behind Lappi in his Ford Fiesta R5 but Sepp Wiegand somehow managed to steal it away from him. Barrable finished in third.
The prestigious Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy was given to Chris Ingram, the 19 year old who was leading the Junior Championship but crashed heavily and was forced to retire. So far in the 2014 season the trophy has been won by Robert Kubica at the Jännerrallye; Vasily Gryazin at the Rally Liepāja; and Craig Breen at the Acropolis Rally.
The next event will be the 49th SATA Rallye Açores which will be held in Portugal on May 15th. Its based in São Miguel, the Atlantic archipelago’s largest island and is famous for stunning countryside with narrow and undulating gravel stages.