Suninen topped the category by nearly 20 seconds after dominating the opening leg, but saw his advantage almost halved in Saturday’s opener when a mysterious issue left his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 down on power.
That issue was quickly cured and from that moment onwards he and Lindholm were evenly matched, each claiming four fastest times in changeable conditions.
A faulty starter motor meant Lindholm had to jump-start his Škoda Fabia Rally2 several times, but it didn’t affect his speed on the stages and the 26-year-old ended the day just 10.7sec behind as well as top WRC2 Junior.
“We had to deal with some challenges this morning, but we dealt with them well,” said Suninen. “All in all, it’s been a good day.”
Fabia pair Mikko Heikkilä and Sami Pajari were both in contention for third overall before being forced into retirement. Heikkilä rolled at Rapsula 1, while Pajari’s early bath was caused by a broken track control arm.
Their misfortunes enabled Egon Kaur to complete the podium in a Volkswagen GTI R5, although the Estonian driver trailed the leaders by 1min 39.7sec at close of play.
Kiwi star Hayden Paddon was only 13.5sec behind Kaur in fourth overall. It was a clean day for the Hyundai man despite him cringing at some of the deep ruts in the second pass.
Paddon was over two minutes clear of Polo driver Eerik Pietarinen, while Teemu Asunmaa rounded off the leaderboard in another Škoda. Freddy Loix - also driving a Škoda - is on target for WRC2 Masters victory.
- Full coverage from Secto Rally Finland is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.