Successful Neste Oil Rally Finland test for young star Suninen
Teemu Suninen is ready for Neste Oil Rally Finland following a successful test in the Citroën DS3 R3T he will use as his prize for winning a prestigious competition.
Suninen, 20, is making his debut on his country´s round of the FIA World Rally Championship from July 31-August 1 after he saw off three other rivals in an assessment organised by AKK Sports, the promoter of the Finnish championship and Neste Oil Rally Finland.
He spent Monday and Tuesday of this week getting to grips with the turbocharged R3-specification Citroën during a test near Palsankylä in Joutsa, Finland, covering approximately 70 kilometres.
"The test went well," said Suninen, who will use DMACK tyres on his Printsport-prepared Citroën. "On the first day we drove for 40 kilometres and already we find a good set-up and a good feeling with the car so I´m really confident we can drive fast on the rally. On the second day we just did a few runs to simulate the conditions of a rally. We had sunshine on both days and 28 degrees so it was really warm."
New car, no problem for Suninen
Having campaigned a Ford Fiesta R2 to date, Suninen said stepping up to an R3 car with a turbo engine had not proved to be a problem. "The turbo was surprisingly easy to learn. Many people believe it is hard to jump from an R2 car to a turbo car but it´s the same thing in both cars: you have to drive on the rev limiter. But the suspension and gearbox are more advanced in the Citroën."
WRC 2 ace Ketomaa lends a hand
Leading Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa, who formed part of the judging panel that selected Suninen, was present at the two-day test to pass on useful knowledge. "He was telling me how the DMACK tyres work and what I need to do with the pressures," said Suninen, who will chase WRC3 points on Neste Oil Rally Finland. "He also gave me good advice about the set-up, like using a harder spring to provide better grip in the corners. His experience was really good for me and I really trust in him. My team is also really amazing. When I say there is a change we have to do it just happens."
The legends are waiting in the capital
Next up for Suninen is the Neste Oil Rally Helsinki Battle on Saturday (July 26) when he will drive his Citroën as a course car at the spectacular event. It features current WRC stars and legends of the sport in action on a purpose-built track in the Finnish capital. "It´s a great opportunity because I get a better feeling for the car and the more I can drive before the rally the better," said Suninen. "Then you have all the legends taking part and that´s really exciting for a young driver like me."