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Suninen aims for perfection

Teemu Suninen believes a ‘perfect’ performance could allow him to fight for a top three finish at this week’s Rally Sweden (15 – 18 February).

The 23-year-old Finn steps into M-Sport Ford’s Fiesta World Rally Car for the first of an eight-round programme in wintry conditions in which he will feel at home.

He excelled in his first two World Rally Car appearances in Poland and Finland last season and was second at his home event until a penultimate stage mistake dropped him to fourth.

A later start position in Friday’s opening leg could work in his favour, but Suninen admits there is no room for errors this time round.

“It would be amazing to challenge for a podium again. Perhaps that is a realistic goal, but we would have to deliver the perfect rally to achieve it,” he said.

“We’ve just completed some good test kilometres in northern Sweden which went really well. I’ve not driven the Fiesta WRC since last year’s Rally Finland, so that gave us a chance to get familiar with the car and we’re now feeling well prepared for the start of the rally.”

Suninen’s approach will differ from last year when outright speed was his goal as he sought to show M-Sport Ford boss Malcolm Wilson his pace was worthy of a World Rally Car programme in 2018.

“With eight events this year, we also have to consider a slightly different approach. In 2017, we were solely focused on our future and showing what we could do, but this time we also have to think about the team and scoring points for the manufacturers’ championship,” he said.

Wilson, who has guided his squad to six wins in Sweden, was cautiously optimistic about Suninen’s chances.

“This is his first snow rally with the Fiesta WRC, and only his third overall, so we can’t expect too much from him. But the Finns have always been quick here and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him secure another strong result,” he said.

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