The Finn charged to the front of the field in the opening speed test and remained at the sharp end of the Italian island pace throughout day one.
A handbrake issue and a move to faster roads cost Suninen time through the weekend, but he remains optimistic moving towards the final two rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship season.
“We had a really good start,” said Suninen, “and it’s nice to make that speed after some tricky rallies – nice to be able to show we can run at the front. This is good [for the confidence] for me and the team.
“OK, we have some work to do in the faster sections, but we know we can be competitive when the conditions are right. I don’t know so much about the Ypres Rally coming up, I expect it will be somewhere between a Tarmac rally like Germany and Spain.
“And I know the team has good experience of those events. I’m looking forward to those rallies.”
“There are a lot of positives that we take away and we’ll focus now on the Tarmac rallies where the Fiesta has always been strong.”
Team principal Richard Millener echoed Suninen’s sentiments.
“The event couldn’t have got off to a better start,” said Millener, “and that time from Teemu was the boost everyone needed. In the right conditions, we’re as competitive as we’ve ever been and that is a big positive for the team right now.
“Teemu should also take a lot of confidence from his performance on that first day. We still have some work to do on the consistency, but the pace is there and that’s something that you can’t teach.”