Tuesday | 05 Aug 2014

Suninen looks to the future

Teemu Suninen must wait to see if his WRC 3 victory at Neste Oil Rally Finland unlocks the door to further opportunities in the FIA World Rally Championship.

The 20-year-old beat all the FIA Junior WRC contenders to claim WRC 3 honours on only his seventh pace note event, despite driving a R3-specification car for the first time and rolling.

“Of course, I would like to do some more WRC events in the future, although I know that’s going to be really hard because of the money situation,” he said. “Hopefully this result has opened some doors and that means anything can happen.

“One year ago I drove on gravel for the first time and it was a real weakness for me, so the important thing was to gain more experience and show my skills, which I was able to do. It was special to finish ahead of the JWRC drivers. After rolling on Saturday the most important things was to keep the focus on the right things."

Teemu Suninen - flying high after WRC 3 win

The ex-kart racer is in his first season of rallying and his drive in a DMACK-supported Citroen DS3 was a prize for winning a competition organised by event promoter AKK Sports to unearth Finland’s latest talent.

Suninen, highlighted as wrc.com’s One to Watch before the rally, didn’t disappoint the faith placed in him by judges including WRC Manager Michèle Mouton and Jarmo Lehtinen, co-driver to Mikko Hirvonen, by outpacing the JWRC regulars on 12 of the 26 stages to finish 17th overall.

His victory came after Saturday’s roll in the Himos ski resort test. Despite considerable damage, Suninen and co-driver Juha-Pekka Jauhiainen carried out emergency repairs to ensure they could get through the subsequent Leustu test and onto service.

“I had either the wrong pace note or an error in my brain because I had too much speed for a long-right corner. The rear hit a bank and we rolled over from the front to the rear. We had a broken damper and lots of damage to the back of the car, including the rear suspension,” said Suninen.

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