Rally

Suninen announces rally return with WRC2 Rally Finland drive

The Finn announced his shock departure from M-Sport last Friday leaving the British squad with immediate effect despite being rostered to pilot the team’s WRC2 entry at the Acropolis Rally later this month.

Suninen was also set to jump back behind the wheel of a M-Sport WRC Ford Fiesta at Rally Finland in October. In a statement confirming his sudden WRC exit he mentioned that “it’s time to go on to new challenges.”

However, the 27-year-old has now confirmed he will indeed compete at Rally Finland, held across 1-3 October, driving a WRC2 Volkswagen Polo GTi.

“Happy to tell you that we’ll compete at the Rally Finland 2021. We’ll drive with the Volkswagen Polo GTI in the WRC2,” Suninen revealed on social media.

“It always feels special to drive at my home rally. Can’t wait to get behind the wheel especially when it’s the 70th edition of the rally.

“Quick Finnish gravel roads, here we come again – thumbs up.”

Suninen’s rally future beyond this outing remains unclear following the decision to leave M-Sport after five years with the operation.

 

News of Suninen’s WRC2 drive arrives on the same day countryman Esapekka Lappi confirmed his return to the WRC’s top tier after landing a drive in a privateer Toyota Yaris run by the factory team at Rally Finland.

The 30-year-old has been heavily tipped to rejoin the factory Toyota squad next year to share the Japanese marque’s third car alongside seven-time world champion Sebastien Ogier, who is set to contest only a partial campaign next year.

PLUS: Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

Lappi, who drove for Toyota in 2017 and 2018, has since confirmed that the drive is an opportunity to prove to the team he is worthy of the 2022 drive.

“I hope this will help, but that’s why I need to be smart. I want that it will help me and not to destroy these negotiations, so that’s why I don’t want to push myself too much. I don’t want to make any extra pressure on myself,” he told WRC.com.

“I cannot really set any targets for the finish in terms of position. I think we just need to concentrate more on stage times, general speed and improvement during the weekend.”

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