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Hyundai names Suninen in new-look 2022 WRC2 line-up

Hyundai has announced Teemu Suninen will lead its assault on the WRC2 Championship as part of a new-look driver line-up for 2022.

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

Suninen was picked up by the Korean marque late last year after walking away from a split WRC/WRC2 drive with M-Sport midway through 2021.

The Finn contested Rally Spain last November before earning a shock promotion to Hyundai’s factory WRC squad to stand in for 2019 world champion Ott Tanak, who was unable to drive the season- ending Rally Monza due to personal reasons.

Impressed by the 28-year-old’s performances, Hyundai has reached an agreement with Suninen and co-driver Mikko Markkula to compete in a seven-event WRC2 programme, beginning at Rally Portugal (19-21 May). 

“I am very excited to team up with Hyundai Motorsport again and contend a full WRC2 season with the Hyundai i20 N Rally2,” said Suninen.  

“Mikko and I have already had a small taste of what to expect with our outing in Rally de España last year, where we finished second. For me, the opportunity to take part in regular testing and play a role in the development of the car was the reason why this was an attractive offer for this year. 

“I have the potential to not only create a competitive rallying package, but also grow as a driver with the support of the teams in Estonia and Alzenau.”

Teemu Suninen, Hyundai Motorsport

Teemu Suninen, Hyundai Motorsport

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Alongside Suninen, Hyundai will field a second i20 WRC2 entry for Paraguayan driver Fabrizio Zaldivar. 

Zaldivar steps up to WRC2 this season after finishing eighth in the WRC3 class last season. He has experience of competing in Hyundai Motorsport machinery, having contested the 2021 Paraguayan championship with the Hyundai i20 R5, supported by Hyundai Paraguay. 

Zaldivar will compete in his debut WRC2 season with co-driver Carlos del Barrio, a former navigator of Hyundai WRC ace Dani Sordo

“This is the most important moment in my career so far. Joining a manufacturer and having access to a wealth of support and experience is every driver’s dream,” said Zaldivar.

“My goal is to perform consistently in every rally; it will take some time to get up to speed with the car, but I want to create a forward momentum that will see me improve throughout the season. 

“I’ve competed with the Hyundai i20 R5 for the past two seasons in Paraguay, winning a title last year, so I hope to have similar success with the Hyundai i20 N Rally2.”

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