M-Sport has announced that Teemu Suninen will drive its third Ford Fiesta for the majority of the 2018 World Rally Championship.
Alongside his WRC2 campaign last year, Suninen contested Poland and Finland in an extra M-Sport WRC car and finished in the top six both times.
He and co-driver Mikko Markkula will contest eight rounds, joining Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans in the M-Sport line-up for Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Turkey, GB and Spain.
“We have a good opportunity to prove our potential,” said Suninen. “The plan is to start those rallies in a relaxed state of mind.
“There’s no now or never situation or anything like that and no need to focus on our position in the drivers’ championship.
“We’ll just take it rally by rally and make the most of every event we do.
“We need to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity, and that is exactly what we plan to do.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of a top-specification World Rally Car and aim to learn as much as I can.”
Team principal Malcolm Wilson expects podiums from Suninen.
“There is no doubting Teemu’s potential and I am sure that he will prove himself a very valuable member of our team this year,” he said.
“More than a few heads were turned when he got behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC for the first time last year.
“To secure a stage win on your debut outing is one thing, but to be challenging for a podium on your second is quite another.
“There is no denying that Teemu is a very talented young driver, and a future rally winner.
“With eight rallies this year he’ll get the vital experience needed to develop his career at this level and I would not be at all be surprised if we saw him challenging for a podium or two.”
M-Sport announced earlier this week that 2011 Monte Carlo Rally winner Bryan Bouffier would drive its extra Fiesta on this year’s Monte and in Corsica.
The line-up for the rallies neither Boullier or Suninen will contest is yet to be finalised.