THE RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND NOTEBOOK & CITROËN SECRETS
THE RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND NOTEBOOK BY… ESAPEKKA LAPPI
17th Rallye Deutschland (22 – 25 August) – Story
Rally Deutschland, whilst contested on the surface on which the Finn began his racing career in karting and also where he claimed his sole WRC podium to date on tarmac, is not an easy event to get to grips with.
What makes this round different?
The dirty tarmac, especially when it rains. To be honest, I’ve never really liked it. Having said that, last year our pace was pretty good and although we took advantage of the misfortune or mistakes of some of our rivals, we still finished on the podium. It just goes to show how crucial consistency is here.
Which is harder in Germany: being able to read the road or getting the right information from the safety crews?
For me, it’s definitely judging the level of grip. Our safety crews do a great job, although obviously the trickier the conditions, the more crucial it is to have the right information and the right amount of it too. But the level of grip can sometimes change so much from one corner to the next, so it’s a huge challenge to judge how slippery it is!
Experience here seems to be critical…
This will be my sixth appearance here and my third in the WRC, so I think I still have a bit of progress to make on Panzerplatte. Last year, I was between two and three tenths per kilometre off the stage-winning times, which is not bad, but I have to try and find those ten or so seconds per stage. One of the keys is good tyre management. I think I looked after my tyres well last year. They were still in good condition at the end so perhaps I need to push a bit harder this year!
You said in Corsica that your previous experience in karting helped you in judging the lines…
Yes, but I’m not sure it will help me here. The roads are too narrow and dirty.
This round is often described as three rallies in one: which part do you prefer?
My favourite part is the stages in the Saarland countryside. It’s a more natural setting and there’s a bit more space too so if you make a really minor mistake, you aren't immediately punished by hitting a curb or a wall, which is invariably the case in the vineyards.
Following their WRC debut in 2011 in a Citroën C2 R2 Max at Rally Finland and a second outing at their home event a year later, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm made their third world championship appearance – and their first on tarmac – at the 2012 Rallye Deutschland, once again in a Citroën C2 R2 Max. Holding the class lead heading into the final stage, they unfortunately had to retire due to a mechanical failure. Esapekka recalls the early stages of his career…
“At the time, I was only competing in gravel events so I needed experience on tarmac. I wanted to learn this rally, as it had a reputation for being hard and unpredictable. I probably got more than I bargained for! It certainly wasn't an easy weekend… In a two-wheel drive car on the muddy roads, we spent a lot of time sideways. I remember clipping something at the front on Panzerplatte. On the final stage, it was just a sensor failure that led to our retirement. But it was a really worthwhile experience!”
media.citroenracing.com Photo credit: © @World
LIVE BY CITROËN RACING INFO:
C3 WRC LIVE on Facebook on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening: facebook.com/citroenracing
Live Twitter feed during the race: @CitroenRacing
Newsflash sent directly to your smartphone via WhatsApp:http://bit.ly/2FuO3MV
Sound recordings in French, English and Finnish are available on the Citroën Racing Media site, posted at the end of each leg. They can also be sent by email directly, on request – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CITROËN TOTAL WRT 2019 SEASON PRESS KIT:
Aurélie Lehe – Head of Communications & Marketing, Citroën Racing +33 6 79 50 21 13 – email@example.com
Eric Bellegarde – WRC Press Officer +33 6 64 15 36 03 – firstname.lastname@example.org