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Fri 21 Oct 2022

Suninen sets the pace in WRC2 on Friday

Teemu Suninen made a strong start to his maiden asphalt outing of this FIA World Rally Championship season and leads WRC2 after a taxing opening leg at RallyRACC - Rally de España.

The Finnish driver is searching for his first victory of the year after a problematic run so far and wasted no time in demonstrating the potential of Hyundai’s i20 N Rally2 car on smooth asphalt. 

After seizing the lead from Nikolay Gryazin on the final stage before service, Suninen was never headed and remained in control despite patches of damp weather. 

Škoda Fabia Rally2 driver Gryazin managed to whittle the deficit down to 1.8sec with two speed tests remaining but Suninen reacted - going 11.9sec quicker than his rival on the 22.64km Les Garrigues Altes stage to arrive back to service 12.7sec in front.

“It’s been quite tricky at times when it has started to rain slightly,” explained Suninen. “It’s hard to trust the grip sometimes, but I really tried my best today.”

Just four seconds back from Gryazin was Yohan Rossel, who completed the podium in a Citroën C3 Rally2. The Frenchman ended 22.0sec clear of M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 man Jari Huttunen, who held a 6.4sec buffer over Stéphane Sarrazin’s Volkswagen Polo. 

It was a troublesome day for title contenders Emil Lindholm and Kajetan Kajetanowicz. Both drivers suffered costly spins in their Škodas and languish more than a minute back from the lead in sixth and seventh overall. As it stands, the title will be decided at the season finale in Japan. 

  • Full coverage from RallyRACC - Rally de España 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.