Tue 01 Nov 2022

Suninen enjoying developing Hyundai Rally2

Front-running WRC2 driver Teemu Suninen has relished playing his part in the development of Hyundai’s i20 N Rally2 car.

Suninen’s current championship standing of eighth overall doesn’t exactly paint the full picture of the pace he has shown in the WRC’s premier support category this year. 

The Finn has been fighting at the front in the majority of the rallies he has contested and finally clinched a win last time out at RallyRACC - Rally de España. 

Sadly, a Wolf Power Stage crash whilst leading in Portugal, plus disqualification from the top spot in August’s Secto Rally Finland have dented his title charge.  

But it’s not all been doom and gloom for Suninen, who regularly starred in M-Sport Ford’s top-flight line-up between 2017 and 2021. He joined Hyundai’s second-tier squad for a full campaign this season and revealed to WRC.com that the Korean manufacturer has made big steps forward with its i20 N Rally2.

The i20 N Rally2 first hit the stages in 2021 and is the successor to the i20 R5, which debuted back in 2016. 

“I think we have developed the car a lot,” reflected Suninen. “For me, that was the target for the year and I would say we have succeeded in that area. 

“I have been really impressed. Never before has there been a year when we have developed so many parts on a car. As a driver, it’s always nice to go to tests with some new parts, knowing that we are doing a good job and improving the car.

“Of course we missed some of the best results but there have been some situations where we have maybe been a bit unlucky from all sides. We can only focus on things which we can effect and I think we lost the championship in the first two rallies when we retired,” he added.

Suninen rounds out his season next week at FORUM8 Rally Japan (10 - 13 November). Quizzed on his plans for 2023, the 28-year-old said that nothing is confirmed but admitted it would be nice to get into a Rally1 car. He’d also be equally content staying where he is now.  

“I like working with this car because I enjoy the challenge it brings the driver to develop it. And still, the level is quite high in WRC2 with a few ex-WRC drivers who could be in WRC but have maybe not had the chance this year.

“I really wish that I can call this my job for next year,” he smiled. “It would be good to be in Rally1 but I’m also happy to continue in the Rally2 with Hyundai. I believe we have now done the big job with the developing and it would be good to focus on making proper results.”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM