Suninen impresses on first run in Team ORECA Fabia R5

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TMG Junior Driver Development driver Teemu Suninen showed promising pace on his WRC2 debut for Team ORECA at this weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo as he finished twelfth place overall and fifth of the RC2 runners.

Although Suninen will not take any WRC2 points as he hadn’t nominated this round to score he showed that he had the pace to mix with the front-runners.

“Teemu is young but he’s demonstrated great maturity for his first Rally Monte-Carlo” explained ORECA’s Technical Director David Floury. “His approach was the right one: he knew there’s no need to overdo it, he just gradually increased his pace and ended up completing the rally without making any major mistake. Yet the rapidly-changing conditions made it very difficult”

“Most of what Teemu could have encountered as part of this so unusual rally happened. Thus this Rally Monte-Carlo taught him a lot and that will be very useful for him later on. He posted interesting times, such as his scratch time in the power stage for instance, and his consistency enabled him to clinch a convincing result. What a very positive season launching, all the more since it was our first entry with the Skoda Fabia R5!

“The team remained calm and did a great job, having made sound and appropriate choices in terms of tyres. Rally after rally our collaboration with Teemu and Mikko is getting better. It sets a good momentum for us. We’ll have to maintain it in Sweden – another very special rally.”

Suninen was happy with the rally and revealed that it had been a good confidence building weekend in the Fabia R5.

“This first Rally Monte-Carlo has left me with a positive overall feeling,” said Suninen. “I was nervous to start with but finally had a smile on my face by the end of the weekend. I didn’t quite know what to expect between ice, snow and other sections that sometimes appeared to be completely dry”

“Conditions kept changing dramatically during these four days. It was surprising at the beginning but as the days passed I got better sensations. I learnt a lot and even though I could have gained experience with other challenges, the Rally Monte-Carlo is so special that nothing could replace it.

“I didn’t really know where I stood in this challenge before it started, but I’m satisfied with this Top 5 in RC2. We completed this rally by posting a fastest time, it’s good to deliver the performance we had been able to show on several splits. I felt good in our new car, I really like it. Mikko did really well and so did our team.”

The next rally on the calendar for Suninen and co-driver Mikko Markkula will be Rally Sweden next month, the pair will once again be using this weekend to gain experience having not nominated this round for points.

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