Teemu Suninen will lead Hyundai’s charge to win the World Rally Championship’s WRC2 support category this year aboard an i20 N Rally2, with his seven-round season starting in Portugal on 19-22 May.
A deal for Suninen to contest the full WRC season with Hyundai has been widely expected since his switch to the brand from M-Sport late last year, having driven the i20 N Rally2 on Rally Spain before a top-class return at the 2021 season finale, Monza Rally.
Issues with sourcing spare parts delayed the start of Hyundai’s WRC2 season, in which its cars will continue to be run by the RedGrey Team co-owned by Markko Märtin and Ott Tänak – and the chassis Suninen will use had to be fully rebuilt from Oliver Solberg’s crash on Rally Finland last year.
While Suninen’s full schedule for the year remains unclear, Hyundai indicated the majority of events he will contest are gravel rallies.
“We have had already few development tests on Tarmac, although our focus in WRC2 this year is on gravel rallies,” said Suninen, while also confirming Rally Italy and Rally Finland would be other rallies on his schedule.
Safari Rally Kenya, Rally Estonia, Acropolis Rally and Rally New Zealand are the WRC’s remaining gravel rounds on the 2022 schedule.
Suninen’s factory team-mate for the year is Paraguayan Fabrizio Zaldivar, who will be co-driven by Dani Sordo and Jesús Puras’s former navigator Carlos del Barrio.
Zaldivar finished eighth in WRC3 last season aboard a Toksport-run Škoda Fabia Rally2, a year on from finishing fourth in the Junior WRC standings.
He will also begin his season in Portugal and, while the remainder of his program remains unconfirmed, he stated that “without a doubt I dream of going to Kenya”.