Suninen finally reveals his mystery Chile issues

The Hyundai driver kept his cards close to his chest when he started losing some time on Friday afternoon

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If there was one thing more impressive than Teemu Suninen’s driving on the first day of Rally Chile, it was his discreteness.

No matter how hard the stage-end reporters tried, they just couldn’t prize an answer from him.

Suninen started Friday feeling like he could have gone faster, and he duly responded with a strong three-second stage win to move into the overall lead after SS4.

But over the course of the next two stages Suninen dropped time to Ott Tänak and waved goodbye to his rally lead as a result, ending the leg 4.2s behind.

However he was reluctant to reveal why.

Questions were first raised at the stop-line of SS5, where Teemu was asked if he knew where he’d lost the 4.9s to new leader Tänak.

“I did a good stage,” he smiled.

So you don’t have a good explanation for that?


“I have.”

What is is then?

“Normal things.”

Vague as you like, and intriguing too.

So a different World Rally Championship’s stage-end reporter had a go at the end of SS6, where again Suninen lost ground to Tänak – this time 3.1s.

“It’s all under control, so nothing to worry [about],” came the Finn’s reply.

How have you managed to deal with it though?

“The team is helping, so we can get through the problems.”

Two-nil to Suninen.


But by the time he reached the end-of-day media zone, the Hyundai driver finally gave up what was troubling him.

“We got a radiator leak and lost the hybrid so there was quite a lot of issues,” Suninen told DirtFish.

“But luckily we managed those problems and we are here.”

Considering that’s what he was up against, it makes his day even more impressive. Although Suninen, being the understated character that he is, wasn’t hyping himself up.

“I got the feeling there was some places where I could go faster,” he said, “but I need to remember everything was new for us, and no-one can make perfect corners.”

He then finally admitted: “It’s been a really good day.”


Not quite as good as Tänak’s though, who finally had a good Friday aboard his M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1.

“It’s only the first day, it doesn’t mean obviously anything,” Tänak cautioned, “but it’s finally good to do at least Friday without having any major issues and we are still in the game.

“Definitely keeps the motivation high and obviously I guess this rally now tricky roads and tire management, it was definitely playing in our favor.

“Nobody could really push to the maximum and I guess we were managing the tires OK.”

Tänak did however suffer a scare of his own with a heavy impact over a jump, which he revealed registered a force of 27G!

“Yeah it was quite a massive impact,” he said, “but second loop it was all OK.

“We had a bit of an issue with one damper and obviously it didn’t protect us really too much so yeah it came through.

“To get 27G up to your a** was a bit uncomfortable, but we are OK.”