Video: WRC Driver Hits Trees, Narrowly Misses Spectators in Spectacular Crash

esapekka lappi wrc crash central european rally 2023
WRC Driver Narrowly Misses Spectators in CrashDirtFish / YouTube

WRC driver Esapekka Lappi crashed out of this weekend's Central European Rally in spectacular fashion, pinballing across trees in a narrow corner while sliding out of control. Videos from the scene show that spectators were only narrowly able to dodge the car as it lost control, a reminder of the dangers of watching rally cars fly through the woods.

One video from inside the corner exit shows close calls on both sides, with Lappi first losing control into trees on the outside before snapping back and hitting trees on the inside. Spectators that scrambled to get out of the way were able to get to safety, but they were close to being hit at various different points as Lappi's Hyundai bounced around.

Another video, filmed head-on directly at the end of the braking zone, shows why standing outside of a corner this narrow is such a bad idea. The spectator has time to react when the car loses control, but only just enough to dive out of the way as Lappi's Hyundai suddenly turns sideways. A brake failure, or a similar spin that went just a little differently, could have been catastrophic.

In a conversation with Dirtfish at the site of the crash, Lappi said that he lost control under braking on his way into the corner and lost the rear. He says this may have been because he was too close to the edge of the road, leaving uneven grip when the car started to slow. In such a narrow stretch of road, that left nothing to do but hit whatever was on the outside of the corner. Thankfully, spectators were able to get back behind trees before the Hyundai i20 N rally car hit anything.

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