Suninen: ‘I was on the limit’
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver Teemu Suninen believes he extracted every bit of performance from his Fiesta after admitting he was ‘on the limit’ for most of last weekend’s Neste Rally Finland.
The Finn was the fastest Fiesta driver on Friday and Saturday as team-mates Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier struggled with the set-up of their respective cars.
But Suninen was unable to fight with the front-running Toyotas and finished the eighth round of the season in sixth place.
Asked if he knew what he was missing compared to the front-runners, Suninen said: “Pace. I was on the limit in many places. Everybody can make their own decision as to what was wrong with my results here, but I couldn’t find many places where I could go faster.”
The 24-year-old’s result was also influenced by him being ordered to concede a place to reigning champion Ogier. Suninen checked into regroup before Sunday’s Live TV Power Stage two minutes late, and the 20sec penalty allowed Ogier to move up to fifth – and reduce the gap to Thierry Neuville in the drivers’ standings.
Despite losing out on a top-five finish, Suninen told wrc.com he was pleased with how he performed on his home stages.
“I was pretty happy with the rally and with the driving,” he explained. “On Friday and Saturday I was fastest, and I believe it is kind of an achievement to let Sébastien pass before the finish. It gives a kind of confidence.
“But still, I was hoping for more than this. I couldn’t drive faster or get better results.”
With Finland complete, Suninen has now switched his focus to his next challenge: ADAC Rallye Deutschland (16-19 August).
He said: “It will be difficult because it is going to be my first asphalt event with a WRC car. I’ve never driven with the centre differential on asphalt and it is going to make quite a difference compared to the R5 car.”