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Sat 21 May 2022

Suninen maintains WRC2 advantage

Teemu Suninen retained control of the WRC2 category with another trouble-free drive on Saturday at Vodafone Rally de Portugal.

Suninen started the day 17.1sec clear of Yohan Rossel, having inherited the lead before Friday night’s service when Andreas Mikkelsen retired with engine issues. 

The Finn, driving an i20 N Rally2 for Hyundai, came under increasing pressure from Rossel over the morning tests and saw his advantage cut to just 9.2sec after the first pass of Amarante. 

Suninen cranked up the tempo in the afternoon. He took a clean sweep of stage wins on each of the day’s remaining gravel stages to reinstate a comfortable buffer and eventually ended 30.5sec ahead of Rossel’s Citroën C3 Rally2 in tenth overall. 

"It was another good day,” said Suninen. “I tried my best, made no mistakes and it’s looking good for us so far,” he added. 

Kajetan Kajetanowicz rounded off the leading trio 1min 23.7sec behind Rossel in a Škoda Fabia Rally2. He seized the position from Oliver Solberg early in the day and was gifted ample breathing space when the Hyundai youngster retired with broken steering. 

WRC2 Junior leader Chris Ingram brought his Fabia home a hefty 4min 10.5sec further down in fourth, followed by Miko Marczyk who was another 1min 17.7sec in arrears. Both were driving Škoda cars and both suffered punctures in SS15. 

FIA European Rally Championship frontrunner Armindo Araújo completed the top six. His Fabia was 8min 11.7sec adrift of the leaders at close of play. Frenchman Frédéric Rosati was over two minutes clear in the WRC2 Masters category with his i20. 

Portugal’s brutal stages once again showed little mercy to the crews. Other drivers to join Solberg on the retirement list included Fabrizio Zaldivar (Hyundai), Georg Linnamäe (Volkswagen Polo) and Jan Solans (Citroën). 

  • Full coverage from Vodafone Rally de Portugal is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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