Rally Sweden Lappi Takes Home Second Career Win

February 22, 2024Joe Moore

The second round of the 2024 WRC season has come to an end. Esapekka Lappi took home his second career win at Rally Sweden.

Championship Rundown

Thierry Neuville retained the championship lead after the second round. Neuville now holds a three-point lead over Elfyn Evans heading into Safari Rally Kenya next month. Adrien Fourmaux sits third in the championship after a strong first two events of the season. Fourmaux sits 16 points behind Evans. Sebastien Ogier moves down to fourth in the championship after Rally Sweden. This isn’t a surprise as the 8-time World Rally Champion didn’t contest Rally Sweden. Ogier sits five points behind fellow countryman Fourmaux. Ott Tänak rounds out the top five in the championship. With the Estonian sitting just three points behind Ogier. 

Rally Sweden Day One 

Kalle Rovanperä was right back into shape on the opening stage of Rally Sweden. Rovanperä who missed Rallye Monte-Carlo took the stage win on the first days lone stage. Rovanperä set a time 1.4 seconds faster than Takamoto Katsuta to top the stage. Elfyn Evans rounded out the top three after the day, sitting 0.6 seconds behind Katsuta. 

Rally Sweden Day Two 

The second day of Rally Sweden saw drivers contest 107.9 km across seven stages. Esapekka Lappi took the event lead on the day. After both Rovanperä and Tänak crashed out. Lappi was able to take a 3.2-second lead over Takamoto Katsuta into the third day. Oliver Solberg sat third overall, a minute and 17.5 seconds behind Katsuta after the day. Lappi took home the most stage wins on the day, winning four of the seven stages. 

Rally Sweden Day Three

The third and longest day of Rally Sweden saw drivers contest 124.96 km across 7 stages. Esapekka Lappi retained his lead on the day after his largest competitor Takamoto Katsuta crashed out on SS10. Lappi ended the day with a minute and 6.3-second lead over Adrien Fourmaux. Elfyn Evans sat third overall at the end of the day, 16.7 seconds behind Fourmaux. Thierry Neuville won the most stages on the day, winning three out of the seven stages. 

Rally Sweden Day Four

The fourth and final day of Rally Sweden saw drivers contest 61.08 km across three stages. Esapekka Lappi held out to take home the win. Lappi ended the day with a 29.6-second lead over Elfyn Evans. Adrien Fourmaux rounded out the podium, finishing 18.3 seconds slower than Evans. Kalle Rovanperä won the most stages on the day. As the Finnish driver won two of the three stages. However, Elfyn Evans was the fastest on Super Sunday. Claiming 11 additional points on the day to up his event total to 24 points. 

Lappi Wins His Second 

It has been 2,394 days since Esapekka Lappi took home his first rally win. As Lappi won the 2017 running of his home event Rally Finland. Lappi came close to taking his second win nearly a year ago at Rally Mexico. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as a power pole ended Lappi’s event early. Lappi’s win also means Hyundai has a 100% win rate this season. As Thierry Neuville took home the season-opening win at the Rallye Monte-Carlo last month. 

Rough Conditions

Rally1 drivers had less-than-desirable conditions pretty much all weekend. As on the second day’s afternoon loop, heavy snow left Neuville and Evans clearing about 10 cm of snow off the road. Day three wasn’t much different. As Tänak and Rovanperä both struggled in the road-sweeping positions. Even without additional snow. There wasn’t nearly enough ice for the tire studs to work as intended. This left drivers with constantly changing conditions. In one corner they could’ve had near-perfect grip, on the next they had none. This is Rally Sweden’s largest challenge, however.