Hyundai’s big surprise: Suninen gets the wheel for the Central European Rally!

Hyundai recently made an exciting announcement: Teemu Suninen will take the driver’s seat for its third factory World Rally Championship (WRC) car at the upcoming Central European Rally. This significant event is scheduled as the second last round of this year’s season.

A glance at Suninen’s recent journey reveals that the Finnish racer stepped up to Hyundai’s third factory i20 N Rally1 car earlier this season, sharing the limelight with Dani Sordo. His involvement came following the unfortunate passing of Craig Breen, leaving a void in the team. Suninen showcased his prowess in the WRC rounds in Estonia and Finland, and in acknowledgment of his skill, Hyundai disclosed last month their decision to grant Suninen another opportunity to shine. This time, at the third gravel rally in Chile, which marks WRC’s grand return to the country after a hiatus since 2019.

But the good news doesn’t end there for Suninen. He’s now being offered his inaugural WRC Rally experience on asphalt with the Central European Rally set to take place from 6-9 October. This rally promises a unique experience, crossing through three different countries and utilizing roads from the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany.

A thrilling subplot to this story is the anticipated face-off between Suninen and Sebastien Ogier, the renowned racer who seems poised to helm Toyota’s third GR Yaris for the same round. Ogier recently hinted that this round could possibly be his chosen next event for the year.

To ensure he’s at the top of his game, Suninen is gearing up to participate in the final round of the Austrian national championship, the OBM Bucklige Welt Rallye. He’ll be taking the i20 N Rally1 car for a spin this weekend. His past performances, which saw him secure a fifth-place finish in Estonia and an impressive fourth in his homeland of Finland, stand as a testament to his capabilities.

Hyundai’s recent announcements suggest a likely return of Sordo to the third car for the season’s grand finale in Japan, set from 16-19 November. Recollecting Sordo’s journey, the 40-year-old faced a retirement in the previous year’s round due to a car fire. But showing resilience, Sordo marked his return with the Hyundai team in Greece, clinching third place. This victory was his 56th WRC podium finish, placing him in a joint ninth position in the championship’s all-time podium finishers leaderboard.

At a post-event press conference, Sordo hinted at Japan being his next destination, but official confirmation from Hyundai remains pending. There’s also speculation about the veteran Spaniard’s future with Hyundai post this season.

In all, the upcoming rallies promise exhilarating action, and fans worldwide eagerly await the high-octane drama that is sure to unfold.