19 May 2013

Finland’s Lappi wins 2013 International Rally of Whangarei

6:13 pm on 19 May 2013

Esapekka Lappi of Finland and co-driver Janne Ferm have taken out this year's opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship with a start-to-finish leading performance at the International Rally of Whangarei.

Driving the MRF Tyres team Skoda Fabia S2000 Lappi extended his overnight lead to a winning margin of 4min03.2 after winning seven of the day's eight remaining special stages.

Second was team-mate Gaurav Gill from India and co-driver Glenn Macneall while Nelson based Ben Hunt and co-driver Tony Rawstorn finished third in their international specification Subaru STI.

Lappi heads home with 39 points - the maximum on offer. Gill trails by nine with six rounds remaining.

Securing a win in the chasing New Zealand Rally Championship field Geraldine based Hayden Paddon continued his dominating form after claiming maximum points in yesterday's leg.

Along with co-driver John Kennard the pair set or re-set four records for the day's double-run loop of four stages in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

Second were Richard and Sara Mason.

Ben Hunt's strong run at the head of the field keeps him third overall in the standings, behind Mason and table leading Paddon.