Suninen out to make his mark
Teemu Suninen is determined to make his mark in 2019 when he tackles his first full season in a World Rally Car.
After part programmes in 2017 and 2018, the 24-year old remains at M-Sport Ford World Rally Team to contest all 14 events in a Fiesta WRC as part of a new two-car line-up with Elfyn Evans.
Regarded as one of Finland's brightest young rally stars, Suninen has set himself clear targets for the season ahead.
"My objective is to be more consistent and finish in the top six in the World Championship," he told wrc.com.
"Last year I struggled at some rallies due to my lack of experience. This time I believe I can do better thanks to the extra experience I have and the amount of testing compared to last year.
"Up to now my main objective has always been to get a full season in a WRC car. Now, the next target is to get some wins or podiums."
Suninen and Evans have big boots to fill at M-Sport Ford after the departure of Sébastien Ogier for Citroen. But Suninen believes the Frenchman's decision to move on could bring some benefits.
"Sébastien was a multiple champion so it was easier for him to apply pressure to the team to push forward. But now I think I can get a bigger role in the team and I can have an effect on the car," he explained.
"There will be more testing too. Last year I was testing only eight days in the year, with no pre-rally tests. I just needed to jump in and hope it suited."
After three seasons alongside Mikko Markkula, Suninen will be joined by new co-driver Marko Salminen and the pair will make their championship debut together at Rallye Monte-Carlo (24 – 27 January).
Suninen tested the latest specification Fiesta in December. "The car feels really easy to drive. It is predictable, and the balance is good," he said.
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