Simply clever: ŠKODA works driver Lappi defends his overall lead in Wales


  • Day two of the Rally Great Britain: ŠKODA works pairing of Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm take it steady over the eight special stages
  • Duel between the title contenders in ŠKODA FABIA R5: Suninen performs well in the morning – Lappi maintains his lead in the WRC 2 standings
  • ŠKODA works drivers Pontus Tidemand and Jan Kopecký in third and fourth places respectively

After a strong start to the Rally Great Britain 2016 on Friday, ŠKODA works driver Esapekka Lappi and his co-driver Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) continued to dominate the second day of this traditional event in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2). Knowing that they had to make it through almost 100 stage kilometres in Wales with no service and without damaging the tyres on board their ŠKODA FABIA R5 if possible, the winners of the WRC 2 rounds in Finland and Germany cleverly opted for a steady pace and avoided any risks. With this tactical tour de force, they succeeded in defending their position at the top of the overall standings against Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (FIN/FIN) in their privateer team’s ŠKODA FABIA R5. Behind them, the remaining two ŠKODA works teams – Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S) and Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) – are lurking in third and fourth places.


As on the previous day, the duel between the WRC 2 title contenders, Lappi and Suninen, dominated the action during the eight special stages in Wales on Saturday. Suninen initially scored wins on two of the morning’s three stages and thereby reducing Lappi’s lead in the overall rally standings from 46.7 to 34.3 seconds. Lappi then countered by winning two stages and goes into the final day with a total lead of 55.6 seconds. There are just 52.08 kilometres on the programme for Sunday, split into six special stages.

“Saturday was an important day which we approached tactically,” said Lappi at the end of the day. “We knew that we couldn’t afford to make any major mistakes and had to get through the day with the tyres we had. We didn’t have the usual midday service and there were no fresh tyres either. With that in mind, we tackled the stages steadily because any slip-up on Saturday could immediately have meant we were out of the running. These tactics paid off perfectly at the end of the day.”


Meanwhile, works driver Jan Kopecký – who also started the Rally Great Britain with a chance of winning the title – continued to drive consistently in Wales on Saturday and is currently in fourth place overall. Ahead of him is his Swedish team-mate Pontus Tidemand, who also put in a strong, flawless performance on Saturday with best times on four stages and is justified in hoping for a podium finish on Sunday. “On Sunday, we’ll try to put Teemu Suninen under pressure and maybe secure second place at the end,” said Tidemand.

Interim standings Rally Great Britain (WRC 2):

1 Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN) ŠKODA FABIA R5 2:51:43.3 hrs
2 Suninen/ Markkula (FIN/FIN) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 0:55.6 min.
3 Tidemand/Andersson (S/S) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 1:07.9 min.
4 Kopecký/Dresler (CZ/CZ) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 2:13.9 min.
5 Aasen/Engan (N/N) Ford Fiesta R5 + 4:15.7 min.

The number of the day: 16
The Rally Great Britain has primarily been held in Wales in recent years. This season, the classic rally – which was established in 1932 – returned to English soil for the first time since 1999. Special stage 16 at Cholmondeley Castle brought the action to a close on Saturday evening. “Welcome back,” said Pontus Tidemand. The ŠKODA works driver put in the best time among the WRC 2 teams.