Suninen targets Swedish repeat
Teemu Suninen wants to replicate the rally-leading pace he showed in Sweden last month when Rally Guanajuato Mexico (8 – 10 March) gets underway this week.
The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver was the big surprise of the opening day at Rally Sweden as he claimed two stage wins and led a WRC event for the first time in his career.
Although two crashes later cost him the position, team principal Rich Millener hailed the Finn’s drive as a 'coming-of-age performance.’
Mountainous gravel tracks replace Sweden’s snow-covered forest roads at the third round in Mexico, but Suninen is determined to maintain his front-running form.
“Rally Mexico and Rally Sweden are two totally different events, but it would be nice to continue our strong performance,” he explained.
“I don’t know if we’ll be able to challenge with the top guys this week, but we’re all working really hard and the team have put a lot of effort into the development of the Fiesta. That hard work showed in Sweden, and I hope it will show in Mexico too.”
Suninen has tackled the Mexican round twice before, winning the WRC 2 category in 2016. He reacquainted himself with the gravel-spec Fiesta during a two-day pre-event test in the hills north of Barcelona.
“We drove a one-day test in Spain last week, although the temperatures aren’t very close to what we’ll see in Mexico, it was a good opportunity to get a feel for the car at high altitude on gravel,” he said.
“The feeling was really good, but there is always a little uncertainty going to the events as we don’t know what our rivals have done. There was that same feeling before Sweden, but our pace was good and we had the speed to challenge for the top results."
Placed 15th in the drivers’ championship, Suninen should benefit from a cleaner racing line through Friday’s stages, but he warned that the position could also bring problems.
“I’ll have a later start position, but that’s not always a good thing as there could be a lot of stones dragged onto the line. The key for me will be to drive neatly and have the consistency as well as the speed,” he added.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Rally Guanajuato Mexico, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.