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Suninen to drive Rally1 automobile as Hyundai reveals WRC driver improvement scheme

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The South Korean marque has relaunched a driver improvement programme as beforehand predicted by Autosport, with Suninen and reigning WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm the primary drivers chosen to be a part of the initiative.

The scheme, which was first launched in 2017, goals to develop the following wave of Rally1 drivers.

Suninen will step into the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid to switch the late Craig Breen in Rally Estonia in July and Rally Finland In August, whereas Lindholm will change from driving a Toksport Skoda to a Hyundai i20 Rally2 for these occasions.

As a part of the motive force improvement plan, Suninen will even undertake improvement checks driving the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 and Hyundai i20 N Rally2, in addition to take part in pre-event rollouts.

Plans for Dani Sordo, who has been driving the third Rally1 i20N with Breen this 12 months, stay unaffected for the remainder of the season. The Spaniard will pilot the third automobile at subsequent week’s Safari Rally Kenya.

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The remainder of Suninen’s WRC plan might be communicated in the end. Fabrizio Zaldivar will proceed his WRC2 programme with Hyundai as deliberate.

Teemu Suninen, Hyundai Motorsport

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“This can be a nice alternative to get again to prime tier vehicles and I’ve been actually lacking it,” mentioned Suninen, who final drove in WRC’s prime tier at Rally Monza, the place he stood in for Ott Tanak at Hyundai.

“Estonia and Finland have beforehand been sturdy rallies for me, however it will likely be a giant problem to study the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 hybrid and the hybrid system with restricted testing.

“Each rallies are generally known as dash rallies the place you want 110% confidence and to push flat out from the primary nook to get good outcomes, so that can ask for lots of endurance from me and solely time will present our strategy.

“My purpose is to study the automobile step-by-step and to progressively present extra tempo and convey good factors for the crew.”

Lindholm and co-driver Reeta Hamalainen presently sit fourth within the WRC2 standings driving for Toksport, however the 26-year-old Lindholm says the choice to change to Hyundai mid-season is the fitting step to progress his rally profession.

“I am actually excited in regards to the alternative to change into a part of one of the crucial achieved and profitable rally groups globally,” mentioned Lindholm.

“My choice to hitch Hyundai Motorsport stems primarily from the model’s confirmed observe file of success in rallying and particularly their dedication to nurture younger expertise.

“Their clear dedication to rallying aligns completely with my very own ardour and ambition. I see Rally Estonia as the proper place to begin for my journey with the crew; it has been a robust occasion for each myself and the crew previously which brings me a great deal of confidence.

“I firmly consider that now we have each alternative to step on the rostrum a number of instances this season.”

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Hyundai crew principal Cyril Abiteboul added: “The Hyundai Motorsport Driver Improvement Programme shouldn’t be right here to fill a niche, as an alternative it’s a strategic platform to make sure that Hyundai has a number of selections and choices among the many younger drivers on the market.

“We have already got an thrilling secure of expertise, that includes Teemu and Emil, and I am trying ahead to supporting their improvement as we begin to construct the programme additional.”

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