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Lappi shocked by Citroen's WRC withdrawal

Esapekka Lappi says he was shocked by the news of Citroen's withdrawal from the World Rally Championship - a move which leaves him out of work for the 2020 season.

Lappi shocked by Citroen's WRC withdrawal

The Finn, who was teammate to Sebastien Ogier in the Versailles-based squad, says he intends to fight for one of the remaining M-Sport seats left next season.

"I read the rumours, but I was expecting it to be more related to Seb, to be honest," Lappi told Motorsport.com.

"I tried to get some info from [team boss] Pierre [Budar] earlier, but he didn't really give me anything. I thought something was weird. It was quite a shock."

Former Rally Finland winner Lappi finished runner-up on his home round of the series this season and posted another second place in September's Rally Turkey.

He is, however, concerned his 10th place in the season's standings could work against him.

"M-Sport is the only chance available," said Lappi. "It's a tough call. If there's a seat available, there is quite many drivers trying to reach that.

"If you just look at the season which ended I'm not the strongest guy to get it in terms of results and overall results, but anyway we will fight and will fight hard."

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Having tested Citroen's 2020 C3 WRC, Lappi is confident the car and the team was moving in the right direction.

"I think we could have done quite big steps," he said. "Obviously you saw the aero update which was working very well – for sure it would have helped a lot on the fast stages and fast rallies.

"The change and the difference in time was quite big from the old aero. And then we had some performance-related updates: new engine, new geometry with some steering updates and some other things for the diffs. We were working on it for sure.

"Like we saw when I got the diffs I wanted [this season] it all clicked on gravel. There was a lot of work on Tarmac to be done, but I was positive we had a big improvement for next year. maybe they wouldn't have answered all the challenges we face this year, but at least some of them."

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Author David Evans
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