The Finn held second from the moment Rally Guanajuato Mexico hit the gravel speed tests on the first full day. He stayed there until the final dirt road stage when a combination of brake problems and a charging Ott Tänak demoted him to third.
It was the M-Sport Ford driver’s first top three since Italy last June and a solid rebound from a pair of eighth place results in this year’s opening two rounds in Monte-Carlo and Sweden.
Asked if third brought some relief, Suninen told wrc.com: “To be honest yes. The speed in Sweden wasn’t so great. I had bigger hopes here and now I was able to bring it so that’s a relief for me.
“Actually this was even more than I hoped for from this rally. We can be really happy with the result we were able to do here. We had all the time good pace and were able to be really consistent with the pace and stayed away from problems.
Video: Rally Guanajuato Mexico - top 3 moments
“This rally has been really difficult for me the last years so it was great that I was able to get good results here,” added the Ford Fiesta pilot.
Suninen was realistic about his battle with world champion Tänak, who charged back up the leaderboard after an opening day mistake damaged his Hyundai i20.
“It would have been great to be in second position but in the last stages Ott was a bit faster and I was not enough fast compared to him. Then in the end we had some brake issues. We lost one brake. Even without the problems I don’t believe that I could have been beating Ott,” he said.