Teemu Suninen is a Finnish rally driver who currently competes with Malcolm Wilson's M-Sport Ford WRT in the FIA World Rally Championship.
Teemu started his rally career in 2013 and made a WRC debut in 2014. Earlier in a career, he recorded five starts and one victory in the European Rallycross Championship in 2012.
Early career in karting and rallycross
Born in February 1994, Teemu made his first racing steps in karting competitions, recording good results and winning several championship trophies between 2009 and 2011.
In 2012, he made a step up to car racing, participating in five events of the European Rallycross Championship. He was driving a Renault Clio for Set Promotion team, reaching the top podium spot in the season's finale at Estering in Germany where he won S1600 class.
Teemu Suninen in his Renault Clio rallycross car
Rally debut in a BMW 325i, first trophy in a Ford Fiesta ST
Teemu made a rally debut in 2013, driving a BMW 325i in several F-Cup events and even taking one class victory. His first navigator was Joni Lassila.
Teemu then switched to Ford Fiesta ST, alongside navigator Juha-Pekka Jauhiainen, and took the B Junior title in his first season of rallying.
Victorious WRC debut at Rally Finland in 2014
Teemu was a champion again in 2014, driving a Ford Fiesta R2 in the national Fiesta Sport Trophy, still sharing a cockpit with Jauhiainen.
In summer 2014, he made a WRC debut at Rally Finland. He was driving a Citroen DS3 R3T for AKK Sports Team Finland, taking a victory in the WRC3 category.
Teemu Suninen (right) and Mikko Markkula in 2015
Eight starts, two wins in the 2015 WRC season
In 2015, Teemu experienced his first four-wheel-drive car, the Škoda Fabia S2000, driving it at Vaakuna Rally. His new navigator was Mikko Markkula. Then, Teemu recorded two WRC starts with Team Oreca's Citroen DS3 R3T, retiring at Rally Portugal and taking WRC3 win at Rally Italia Sardegna.
His next WRC appearance was in Tony Gardemeister's Škoda Fabia S2000 at Rally Poland, where he finished sixth in WRC2 class. In the Finnish WRC round, he was driving Citroen again, finishing 11th in WRC3 class.
Then, Team Oreca gave him a Ford Fiesta R5 for three events (Germany, France, Spain). Finally, at season's finale in the Welsh forests, he recorded WRC2 victory in TGS Worldwide's Škoda Fabia S2000.
Teemu Suninen was the WRC2 vice-champion in 2016
WRC2 vice-champion with three wins in 2016
In 2016, Teemu spent a full season in the WRC2 Championship, driving a Škoda Fabia R5 for Team Oreca or TGS Worldwide.
He was the WRC2 winner at Rally Mexico, Rally Italia Sardegna and Rally Poland, added podiums in Finland and Wales and finished second in the points, behind Esapekka Lappi and tied in points with Elfyn Evans.
2017 Rally Poland was Teemu's first event in the World Rally Car
Teemu joined M-Sport in 2017
For the 2017 WRC season, Teemu Suninen joined M-Sport World Rally Team to drive a Ford Fiesta R5 in the WRC2 Championship. After three consecutive podiums (Sweden, France and Portugal) he scored his first and only victory at Rally Catalunya. At the end of the season, he was third in WRC2 classification, behind Pontus Tidemand and Eric Camilli.
During the season, he had a chance to try Ford Fiesta WRC in two events, finishing sixth at Rally Poland and nearly missing a podium with the fourth-place finish at Rally Finland.
Teemu Suninen in 2018
Moving full-time to World Rally Car in 2018
In 2018, Suninen started a season with M-Sport's Fiesta R5 at Rallye Monte-Carlo, finishing third in WRC2 class. Then, he joined M-Sport's line-up in the major WRC competition, driving the #3 Ford Fiesta WRC in eleven events.
He reached his first WRC podium at Rally Portugal, finishing third behind Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) and teammate Elfyn Evans. Later in the season, his best result was the fourth place at Rally Turkey Marmaris and he finished 11th in the WRC Drivers' standings.
Teemu Suninen is driving the #3 Ford Fiesta WRC since 2018
Podium for Suninen at Sardinia
M-Sport retained both Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen for the 2019 WRC season. Teemu stayed in the #3 Ford Fiesta WRC and opened a season with 11th place at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
After spending four seasons with Miko Markkula, he changed a co-driver and started the season with Marko Salminen sitting next to him. Another change followed after seven rounds when experienced Jarmo Lehtinen joined Teemu as new navigator. They immediately gained success, climbing to a podium at Rally Italia Sardegna. Suninen finished the season ninth in the points.
M-Sport Ford retained Teemu for the 2020 WRC season, taking another Finn Esapekka Lappi as his teammate.