The Finn was expected to scale back from a full-time programme for 2024 after Hyundai announced the signing of Ott Tanak from M-Sport to partner the already-contracted Thierry Neuville at the South Korean marque.
Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm joined Hyundai this year after impressing in a part-time programme for Toyota last year. Lappi has played a key role in developing the i20N this season and scored an impressive string of podium finishes in Croatia, Portugal, Sardinia and Estonia. The second half of his campaign has however included a run of three crashes in the last four events.
Lappi told Motorsport.com that he had asked Hyundai for a part-time programme for next year.
“I did request a long time ago already to do a part-time if it could be possible and the reason for that is that with my personal life, it has been quite challenging to manage everything when I am away all the time.
“Last year we did a part-time programme and it felt that the balance between my personal and professional life was easier.”
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Esapekka Lappi, Hyundai World Rally Team
Lappi says he is looking forward to continuing his role in developing the i20N across 2024 as the brand looks to challenge for the constructors’ title.
“I feel very comfortable in the team; we have built a fantastic connection over this past year and we have demonstrated we have the package to be successful,” said Lappi.
“I still have the will to develop and succeed in rallying moving forward, and I would like to win with this team. Next year will certainly be different and interesting in many ways, which will motivate me to be a team player, as well as seek personal success, in a bid for a stronger season in 2024.”
Hyundai is continuing to assess its options to complete the driver line-up that will share the third car with Lappi.
“We are pleased to announce the next piece of the 2024 puzzle with Esapekka and Janne remaining with our team for the season ahead,” said Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul.
“Their role will be to support Thierry and Ott in the championship, as well as to focus on developing the car – something Esapekka has demonstrated he is particularly good at this year.
“We believe this is a formidable force that can help us achieve our goals and bring home more wins.
“We are still finalising the full picture for the season ahead, and will announce our plans in due course, but for now we…