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WRC Rally Kenya

Suninen, Tanak contest local rally to prepare for WRC Estonia

Hyundai’s Teemu Suninen and M-Sport's Ott Tanak will pilot their World Rally Championship cars in this weekend’s Lõuna-Eesti Rally to prepare for Rally Estonia later this month.

Teemu Suninen, Hyundai Motorsport

The pair feature on the 19-car entry list for the one-day gravel rally which will take in 68.53km of stages.

For Suninen, the event represents his first competitive drive behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 after receiving a call-up to drive the team’s third car for upcoming WRC rounds in Estonia (20-23 July) and Finland (3-6 August).

The 29-year-old, who has recently been announced as part of Hyundai’s driver development programme, has tested the car at Hyundai’s Finland test base.

“This is a great opportunity to get back to top-tier cars and I have been really missing it," said Suninen last month. 

“Estonia and Finland have previously been strong rallies for me, but it will be a big challenge to learn the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 hybrid and the hybrid system with limited testing. 

“Both rallies are known as sprint rallies where you need 110% confidence and to push flat out from the first corner to get good results, so that will ask for a lot of patience from me and only time will show our approach. 

"My goal is to learn the car step by step and to gradually show more pace and bring good points for the team.”

Teemu Suninen, Mikko Markkula, Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 N Rally2

Teemu Suninen, Mikko Markkula, Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 N Rally2

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Suninen isn’t the only Rally1 car on the entry list with the Finn joined by 2019 world rally champion Tanak. 

Saturday’s rally will be the second time Tanak has competed on home soil driving the Ford Puma Rally1 this year, after winning the opening round of the Estonian national championship at Otepaa in February.

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The rally follows a pre-event test for the M-Sport team on gravel where a modified rear wing was tested. 

“So far it's been a bit tricky this year, so we need to find a bit of speed for the next rally as it is all about the speed now,” said Tanak after finishing sixth at last month’s Safari Rally Kenya.

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