M-Sport Ford World Rally Team have announced that Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula will pilot their third Ford Fiesta WRC for eight rounds of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship.
Suninen will run the same livery as team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans and form part of the manufacturer team for Rally Sweden, Rally Mexico, Rally de Portugal, Rally Italia Sardegna, Rally Finland, the Rally of Turkey, Wales Rally GB and Rally de España.
Along with the commitments in the WRC class, the Finn will also take part in Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rallye Deutschland in a Ford Fiesta R5, competing in the WRC2 class.
Fast on WRC Debut
With two events under his belt already in the Ford Fiesta WRC, having made his top level debut at Rally Poland last year as the team chased their manufacturer title.
A sixth place finish on his first time in the car, along with his first stage victory on the seventh test impressed many.
On his second outing in the WRC class at Rally Finland he pushed on further, finishing fourth place, taking a further three stage victories as he challenged for the podium.
“This will be a nice season for us and I am very happy about my programme for 2018.” said Suninen
“The highlight will of course be the eight rallies with the Ford Fiesta WRC as part of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team where I think we have a good opportunity to prove our potential.”
While the Finn is eager to impress, he knows that he needs to take things easy and enjoy the moment.
“The plan is to start those rallies in a relaxed state of mind. There’s no now or never situation or anything like that and no need to focus on our position in the drivers’ championship. We’ll just take it rally by rally and make the most of every event we do.
“We need to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity, and that is exactly what we plan to do. I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of a top-specification world rally car and aim to learn as much as I can.”
WRC Podium challenger
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE added, “There is no doubting Teemu’s potential and I am sure that he will prove himself a very valuable member of our team this year.
“More than a few heads were turned when he got behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC for the first time last year.
“To secure a stage win on your debut outing is one thing, but to be challenging for a podium on your second is quite another.
“There is no denying that Teemu is a very talented young driver, and a future rally winner. With eight rallies this year he’ll get the vital experience needed to develop his career at this level and I would not be at all be surprised if we saw him challenging for a podium or two.”