As Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala won his maiden Rally of Mexico title on Monday and his first points of the 2016 World Rally Champion (WRC) series, compatriot Teemu Suninen began his WRC 2 season with a victory also on Monday with a massive 20-minute margin.
Hot and dusty gravel mountain roads near León took a heavy toll on the field in the WRC’s principal support category and after ending the opening leg more than seven minutes clear, Suninen measured his pace through the rest of the rally.
As the problems increased for others, Suninen avoided issues and eventually brought his Skoda Fabia R5 to the finish 20 minutes and 11.6 seconds ahead of Poland’s Hubert Ptaszek, who netted a career-best result in a Peugeot 208 T16.
”It wasn’t easy today but the plan was to keep the car on the road. Other drivers had problems and made mistakes and hopefully we can fight with Elfyn Evans during the season,” said Suninen.
Evans won in Monte-Carlo and Sweden and retains the championship lead, despite not competing in Mexico. He began his British Championship campaign this weekend with victory in Wales.
Ptaszek survived a string of problems on Saturday and drove with only two-wheel drive for much of Sunday but recovered to finish three minutes and 53.8seconds ahead of Max Rendina’s Ford Fiesta R5. Nicolas Fuchs was fourth, the Peruvian another to suffer many issues, with Armin Kremer the only other finisher in fifth.
The German who did not finish on both Saturday and Sunday with suspension problems, was fastest on both of Monday’s stages.
Abdulaziz Al Kuwari was the sole retirement today, the Qatari retiring his Fabia R5 in the final stage.