Lappi on dramatic exit: “I didn't realise how big the fire was”

Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm escaped unscathed when their M-Sport Ford Fiesta caught fire and burnt out on Rally Mexico on Friday afternoon.

Our video begins as they arrive at the end of the El Chocolate 2 stage with flames visible underneath the rear end of the car. Ferm exited the car, as marshals attempted to extinguish the fire without success, and Lappi then drove it away – unaware of how serious the situation was.

As the helicam images show, the fire took hold as Lappi drove down a forest track, and he parked the car in the middle of the road – away from the trees – before he jumped out. WRC+’s camera crew then caught up with him, as the car burned out behind him.

Asked when he first knew about the fire, he replied: “On the stop line, to be honest. When Janne opened the door he said ‘OK, this is burning now’. I didn't realise how big the fire was, so I tried to still drive, but [the fire] didn’t shut down. 

When I lost the brakes I realised it was still burning quite bad – and jumped out as quickly as I could!


“I don’t know what caused it as there was no issue on the stage and it was actually a pretty good time. We were going well and fighting for the podium, so it’s a really big disappointment for us and for the whole team. But everyone is okay, and that is the most important thing right now.”

Read Also:

The fire led to the cancellation of the following stage, as emergency services extinguished the conflagration. But car itself was beyond saving.

M-Sport’s team principal, Richard Millener, said of the fire: “It’s hard to tell exactly what happened, but it looks as though some hot oil may have leaked onto the exhaust. Everyone tried their best to put out the flames, but once these cars go up it’s almost impossible to stop – so full credit to Esapekka and Janne for getting it to a safe place.
“

"It’s no secret that this loss will really have a big impact on M-Sport – and we don’t know when the championship will resume which makes the situation really difficult right now. But despite all of this and all of the repercussions, the most important thing is that everyone is safe and unharmed.”

shares
comments
Mexico WRC: Ogier stretches lead, Hyundai hits trouble

Previous article

Mexico WRC: Ogier stretches lead, Hyundai hits trouble

Next article

Mexico WRC: Ogier in control as Neuville shuffles the deck

Mexico WRC: Ogier in control as Neuville shuffles the deck
Load comments
How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Prime

How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Prime

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Prime

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win.

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021