WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Delfi Rally Estonia
Starts: Friday, July 5, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Tue 10 Oct 2023

Supportive Neuville applauds “promising” Suninen

Hyundai Motorsport star Thierry Neuville has offered up some words of encouragement to his team-mate Teemu Suninen, who retired from Rally Chile Bio Bío on the final day.

Suninen had been enjoying one of the strongest rallies of his FIA World Rally Championship career so far and was on course to finish a mighty second overall in Concepción before retiring in the penultimate stage after hitting a tree stump which broke his i20 N Rally1’s steering. 

Hyundai has been giving Suninen ‘one-by-one’ drives during the latter half of this season and Chile was only his third outing in the car. The Finn will also contest Central European Rally (26 - 29 October) later this month, although his position within the team for 2024 remains unconfirmed. 

Neuville, who, along with returning Estonian Ott Tänak, has a guaranteed seat at Hyundai next year, said he felt sorry for Suninen and had been impressed by his pace. 

“It was a difficult weekend for the team,” shared Neuville, who was elevated to second overall following Suninen’s demise. “Obviously, both of my team-mates (Suninen and Esapekka Lappi) went off the road, but we all know how crucial and how hard rallying can be. I mean, we saw that with me in Greece a few weeks ago while I was leading the rally. It’s part of the game.

“Teemu was doing a really, really good job and I think it is definitely promising for his further career, showing the good speed he has shown in the last three events he did with us. That was good to see, and I am disappointed for him.”

The Belgian driver did, however, remained tight-lipped when asked whether he would like to see Suninen offered a permanent place within the Alzenau-based team. 

“It’s not my decision and I am not making the driver line-up,” said Neuville, “but he has done a couple of rallies and he has showed great performances. 

“Drivers like [Teemu] with a one-time opportunity, they just want to show their speed as well. I think he did what he had to do; it just didn’t go to the end.”