Esapekka Lappi and Takamoto Katsuta to contest Finnish championship snow rally

Not one but two Rally1 cars will be seen in the next installment of the Finnish Rally Championship, IsoValkeinen Rally in Kuopio on February 4th. Esapekka Lappi and Takamoto Katsuta are both preparing for WRC Rally Sweden by driving a preparatory test event in Kuopio. A total of 122 crews entered the rally, of which 15 are international.

The participation of Lappi and Katsuta means that Kuopio will see a Rally1 classification car utilizing the new hybrid technology for the first time at the national level in Finland.

Last time we saw Lappi in the FRC was in 2021 at Top Building Rally in which Lappi participated with an N5 class Toyota Yaris. Katsuta, on the other hand, last appeared at the FRC level in the 2019 Riihimäki Rally, where Toyota’s Japanese protégé drove a WRC car from the previous era.
Takamoto Katsuta. Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool. Download photo
The Austrian duo Gerard Rigler – Bernhard Ettel competes in the same class with Lappi and Katsuta, who are participating with an older spec Ford Fiesta WRC.

In SM1 class, there are a whopping 16 pairs of competitors. Class leader Teemu Asunmaa will be challenged by the likes of Jari Huttunen and former F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen. Experienced Saudi Arabian driver Rakan Al-Rashed and Austrians Roman Muhlberger – Alexander Strobl are also set to face the top Finnish drivers.

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