Young hotshot Teemu Suninen’s World Rally Car programme has been expanded to include next month’s Rally Argentina (26 - 29 April).
The 24-year-old learned of his call-up to the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team squad minutes before sitting down for a television interview to preview the event.
Suninen was en route to the interview in León ahead of Rally Guanajuato Mexico when told he would be answering questions about Argentina. Confused, he asked why as the rally was not on his schedule, before team officials delivered the welcome news.
“It was a big surprise for me, but a good one,” said Suninen, whose addition to the line-up means he will now tackle nine rounds in a Fiesta WRC alongside Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans.
Having already competed in Sweden and Mexico, Suninen’s Argentine appearance will be followed by further gravel outings in Portugal and Italy during the first half of the year.
His home event in Finland will lead into more dirt rounds in Turkey and Great Britain, before his season ends on mixed surface roads in Spain.
Suninen tackled Rallye Monte-Carlo in an R5 version of the car to gain experience of wintry Alpine conditions. He will also start ADAC Rallye Deutschland in the WRC 2 support category to extend his knowledge of the German speed tests.
He admitted his first appearance in a World Rally Car in Mexico earlier this month proved more difficult than expected. Suninen damaged his Fiesta’s suspension on the first full day and later crashed into a barrier before returning under Rally 2 to finish 12th.
“I learned a bit about driving style, trying to keep the car on the line. When I was able to do it I was pretty fast but in some stages I was struggling with that and we were far away behind,” he said.
“Two years ago we were here driving with WRC 2 and we were fine with this, but now with more power and more aerodynamics I was struggling to drive the car in the correct way. I believe that from this weekend we can learn a lot.”
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