RISING star Teemu Suninen will be co-driven by the highly experienced Jarmo Lehtinen for the rest of the FIA World Rally Championship season.
The M-Sport Ford driver, 25, has been partnered by Marko Salminen for the first seven rounds of the campaign, but has enrolled his fellow Finn in search of greater experience. Their alliance will start at this week’s Rally Italia Sardegna.
Lehtinen is one of the sport’s most knowledgeable co-drivers. He has started 169 WRC events, most alongside Mikko Hirvonen, with whom he finished runner-up in the WRC four times, and won the manufacturers’ title with Ford in 2006 and 2007.
“I want to thank Marko because we achieved a lot together over the first half of the year. We won stages and led our very first rally,” Suninen said.
“But I’m still learning and having the experience of someone like Jarmo will be really important if I am to achieve my goals over the second half of the season.
“Rally Sardinia is quite familiar to me. This will be my fourth time there and I hope that helps as I get up to speed with Jarmo.
“With only a week since the previous event we haven’t had long to prepare, but if everything goes to plan I’m confident I can show the same pace I had in Portugal.”
After retiring from co-driving in 2014, Lehtinen was sporting director at Toyota Gazoo Racing when the Japanese manufacturer returned to the WRC in 2017. He left in August that year and has most recently worked as a consultant in the championship.