Turkey WRC: Lappi grabs the early advantage

Citroen WRC driver Esapekka Lappi has taken the lead of Rally Turkey by nine seconds after Friday morning’s loop.

Turkey WRC: Lappi grabs the early advantage

Lappi set the fastest time in the Cetibeli stage – 5.6s quicker than second-placed Andreas Mikkelsen – and fifth-fastest in the final stage of the morning was enough to hold off the charging advances of Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala.

Latvala set the pace in two of the three stages included in the loop, but expecting loose rocks on the road he exhibited caution around Cetibeli, dropping 17 seconds to Lappi.

The Toyota driver then completed the Ula stage 5.8s quicker than his compatriot, promoting himself back to third in the overall standings.

Mikkelsen, who jointly topped Thursday night's opening superspecial stage alongside Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville, is four seconds ahead of Latvala.

Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) encountered a slow puncture on the opening stage of the morning but is still the highest placed of the three title contenders after strong performances on the rest of the stages.

Leading M-Sport Ford driver Teemu Suninen sits in fifth, five seconds ahead of points leader Ott Tanak (Toyota), who as the only driver carrying only one spare tyre enjoyed a steady morning.

Neuville is a further 8.6 seconds off title rival Tanak after struggling with the rear grip of his Hyundai i20 on the dry and dusty stages.

Kris Meeke came through the morning unscathed despite a puncture false alarm on the opening stage when a warning light flashed up in his Toyota.

Dani Sordo (Hyundai) really did experience a puncture 30 kilometres into the Icmeler stage, dropping 47 seconds to the leader but surviving to sit in ninth position.

Pontus Tidemand rounds out the top 10 for M-Sport as he stands in for the injured Elfyn Evans.

Standings after SS4 (top 10):

Pos. Driver Car Time/Gap
1 FIN Esapekka Lappi Citroen 1:00:52.8
2 NOR Andreas Mikkelsen Hyundai +9.0
3 FIN Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota +13.0
4 FRA Sebastien Ogier Citroen +15.1
5 FIN Teemu Suninen Ford +16.6
6 EST Ott Tanak Toyota +21.6
7 BEL Thierry Neuville Hyundai +30.2
8 GBR Kris Meeke Toyota +31.3
9 ESP Dani Sordo Hyundai +55.9
10 SWE Pontus Tidemand Ford +1:50.8
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