FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2 – 2016): TEAM ORECA IN WRC 2 WITH TEEMU SUNINEN AND THE ŠKODA FABIA R5
WRC 2 A FULL 2016
Team ORECA in WRC 2 with Teemu Suninen and the Skoda Fabia R5.
8 January 2016
Having returned to rallying and clinched several podiums this year, with Eric Camilli in WRC 2 as well as with Teemu Suninen in WRC 3, the Team ORECA will, once again, appear in the 2016 season. The French team, which has opted for a new car, the Skoda Fabia R5, will enter the championship in WRC 2. The young Teemu Suninen, member of TMG’s Junior Driver Development Program, will remain at the wheel with co-driver Mikko Markkula alongside him. This Finnish tandem will benefit from a full programme which will begin with the Rally Monte-Carlo, first round of the World Rally Championship.
A new car for new ambitions!
Though the Team ORECA, with Eric Camilli and Teemu Suninen, delivered some remarkable performances in 2015, it is looking to raise the bar higher in 2016, with greater ambitions. Suninen, only 21, will enter the full WRC 2 season this time, with the Team ORECA and as part of TMG’s Junior Driver Development Program. He will take part in at least seven rounds, beginning with Rallies Monte-Carlo and Sweden in order to acquire as much experience as possible. Further details about the Finnish driver’s calendar will be communicated later on.
The Team ORECA will first begin in the championship with the Skoda Fabia at the Rally Monte-Carlo, following on private practice sessions scheduled in January, an opportunity for the squad to get familiar with the car. Setting new standards in rallying the Fabia R5 regularly won laurels over the 2015 season, with many successes in the second class of the World Rally Championship, a title in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship as well as several national wins.
“With a driver like Teemu and a car like the Fabia R5, our new 2016 programme is obviously ambitious” ORECA Group CEO Hugues de Chaunac confides. “We’ve got an excellent package there and the experience that both Teemu and the team have garnered throughout this recent season should enable us to compete amongst the leaders next year. However our objective must remain clear: Teemu is a young driver, there’s still a lot of room for him and the team to improve, and we’re only going to discover the Fabia R5. We know Skoda Motorsport well and this car seems fantastic but we’re going to have to get familiar with it. In this context, we’re working towards the Rally Monte-Carlo with great humility as we know how difficult it is. The Rally Sweden will also stand as a great challenge. Results matter, but the way you achieve them is actually as important. Anyway there’s an interesting season ahead of us and we’re looking forward to beginning with Teemu. We’re delighted to continue this adventure with him and Mikko.”
Teemu Suninen: “There’s much to learn!”
Having got noticed back in 2014 as part of his first season in WRC 3, with his win in the Rally Finland, Suninen confirmed his talent in 2015. He first achieved a class win in Sardinia in WRC 3, before moving up to WRC 2 from the Rallu Deutschland on. With a first Top 5 with the Team ORECA and some promising times in Catalunya, he clinched his first class win as part of the Wales Rally on board a private Skoda Fabia S2000. The bucket seat of a Skoda Fabia R5 is awaiting him for the 2016 season.
“Last year I learned a lot about World Championship rallies and switching to WRC 2 was a good thing. The season ended with a successful rally from which I’ve gained a lot of confidence” Teemu Suninen explains. “Next year will offer a lot of new rallies for me on board a 4-wheel drive, so there’s much to learn but the goal is to reach the Top 3. I believe the Skoda Fabia R5 is competitive. I’ve driven a few rallies with a Skoda before and I liked it. I trust the Team ORECA 100%, we now all know each other better than we did last year so everything is more fluid; our work together can only be even more efficient. Monte-Carlo is a very challenging rally because of the weather conditions, pure tarmac mixed with snow and ice. It’s going to be a first for me so I will be careful in the preparation and I’ll do my best there. The goal is to drive smart with a good result.”
Member of TMG’s Junior Driver Development Program Teemu Suninen will once again have the well-experienced Mikko Markkula sitting alongside him. The two men will take their first steps with their new car during the first week of January. The Skoda Fabia R5 will be fitted with Michelin tyres all along this 2016 season.
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