Teemu Suninen is emerging as a frontrunner in the race for Hyundai’s shared third seat in a factory i20 N Rally1.
The Finn already drives for Hyundai’s Customer Racing squad and tested the Rally1 car last year – he also deputized for Ott Tänak in an i20 Coupe WRC at Monza Rally when the 2019 world champion was unable to make the Italian finale in 2021.
Suninen told DirtFish in Portugal he felt he was “50-50” for the seat.
He said: “My information is that it’s 50:50 [for me to be in the car on some rallies.
“I don’t know what is happening, but at least I would see the fast rallies there are no people who have beaten me with the same car in Finland or Estonia. I would see something to give them.
“Last year I had two days with the car, so I have some experience and I’m ready to step up. I think there would be good chance to make some testing and come to the rallies.
“Of course, this is not the nice situation for the driver to be getting the chance this way, but this can sometimes be part of the rally.”
Since then, sources within Hyundai have admitted Suninen is the most likely play for a seat which became available after Craig Breen was killed in a testing accident last month.
Hyundai ran two works cars for Breen’s team-mates Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi at Croatia Rally in the immediate aftermath of the Irishman’s accident. Dani Sordo will remain in the third seat for selected outings – he delivered a strong second place at Rally of Portugal earlier this month.
Asked last week if there was further news on a deal, Suninen told DirtFish: “I didn’t hear any more news on this. Of course, would be good to know, but I don’t know any more detail.”
A source within the team confirmed the Finn’s deal with manager Timo Jouhki “as good as done.”
DirtFish contacted Jouhki, who confirmed discussions were in place, but that no agreement has been signed as of yet.