M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Teemu Suninen and Marko Salminen brought their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC home in seventh place at this weekend’s Rally Argentina.
With limited experience of the stages and very different conditions on the pre-event reconnaissance, the young Finn had much to learn and had to contend with the worst of the conditions throughout much of the event.
An intermittent issue with the intercom also prevented him from pushing the limits through the closing kilometres, but he made it through all of stages unscathed – gaining vital knowledge for the future and keeping M-Sport’s record of 241 consecutive points finishes intact.
Back in the service park, the team have been busy repairing Elfyn Evans’ damaged Fiesta ready for the next round in Chile. The car was stripped and washed to assess the damage yesterday afternoon, and the technicians have already repaired the bodyshell and rebuilt most of the rear of the car.
The re-prep of both cars will continue over the next two and a half days before the cars are trucked in convoy across the Andes. The team will follow on Saturday, and are determined to make a return to the podium.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“Teemu has done a solid job this weekend. It’s only his second time here and he had to contend with some really challenging conditions. Anticipating those conditions when the rally is so different to the recce requires a certain level of experience, and he’s gained some good knowledge for the future whilst keeping our points scoring record intact.
“But overall it’s been a pretty frustrating rally for the team as we had the potential to secure another really strong result this weekend. But that’s the way it goes sometimes, and we’re already focused on the next event in Chile.
“The technicians started the re-prep on Elfyn’s car yesterday afternoon and it’s already starting to look like a proper rally car again! It’s been stripped and washed, the chassis has been repaired, and most of the rear has already been rebuilt.
“We’ll continue the re-prep on both cars over the next two and a half days, and then the technicians are going to have a couple of days holiday before flying to Chile on Saturday. We’ve actually got some mountain biking planned on El Condor which should be good fun!”
Teemu Suninen (7th) said:
“This has been a difficult rally for me and I’m sorry for the team that we didn’t perform as well as we wanted. We know that we have a good car and we want to be pushing for better results. But at least we finished the rally and got some good experience for the future. Now, I’m looking forward to Chile and to seeing what we can do there.”
1. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 3:20:54.6
2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ander Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +48.4
3. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Citroen C3 WRC) +1:04.8
4. Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:06.2
5. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:21.1
6. Dani Sordo / Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:26.7
7. Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4:57.3