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Rally de Catalunya : Eric Camilli amongst leaders, Teemu Suninen keeps on improving…

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2015_RallyeDeCatalogne_CamilliThe Rally de Catalunya was just like an emotional roller coaster for the Team ORECA. Both crews, Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas and Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula, have played leading roles and were serious contenders for the podium before encountering varied bad fortunes. The French driver was competing towards a third podium back-to-back before a mechanical breakdown on Sunday, the last day. The Finnish driver, unwell throughout the weekend, was in the provisional Top 3 before a small contact on Friday forced him to start again in Rally 2. On gravel then asphalt surfaces, the two members of TMG’s Junior Driver Development Program have shown a top speed that was more than interesting.

Eric Camilli impressed with ‘scratch’ three times!
Member of FFSA French Rally Team, Eric Camilli really wanted to confirm the two podiums achieved in Germany and in Corsica with co-driver Benjamin Veillas. Though he was not rewarded, the native of Nice proved his qualities once again. On Friday, despite misfires, he posted the second time, and two more times in the Top 5, and completed the day which was mostly fought on gravel at the WRC2 fifth place. The following day, Eric picked up momentum on asphalt: posting the ‘scratch’ three times, as well as the second time on five occasions! Enough to securely settle at the third place before the final day, he was the only one to compete amongst the new Skodas R5. Eric hoped to finish on a high note on Sunday, but he had to withdraw in the SS19, because of a broken exhaust manifold. A terrible ending yet not affecting him.
“At the time I obviously felt disappointed but that’s not what I want to keep in mind” Eric Camilli explains. “I want to remember the team’s and the car’s performances, as well as the times Benjamin and I posted together. I think that we’ve impressed a lot of people. Following on what we did in Germany and Corsica, we’ve continued to pick up momentum: we’ve been even more competitive and consistent. What happened on Saturday shows it, and that’s surely the most successful day of our season. I’m a little bit regretful regarding Friday, we weren’t able to show our full potential on gravel because of misfires. Overall it’s very positive even if the work carried out by the whole team wasn’t rewarded by a new podium.”   

Teemu Suninen keeps on improving…
2015_RallyeDeCatalogne_SuninenJust like his teammate, Teemu Suninen drove fast on both gravel and asphalt surfaces. The young Finnish driver who has posted the second time in the SS2, achieved the Top 3 on Friday. That rank was confirmed during the third and fourth special stages, proving his strengths on gravel surface. Alas, nauseous, Teemu made a mistake in the SS6. A contact damaged the front of the car, forcing him to stop. He started again in Rally 2. On asphalt, he progressively moved up in the hierarchy, regularly coming close to the leading quintet. He entered that Top 5 several times throughout this final day. A performance which reflects his potential only partially, Teemu suffered from fatigue during this Rally de Catalunya.
“I’m disappointed with the sheer result but there’re some good elements to remember in this Spanish round” Teem Suninen underlines. “We’ve performed well on gravel surface, perhaps even better than expected. However, I was ill on Friday and that disrupted me, I couldn’t focus properly. On asphalt, I went faster than in Germany and Corsica, right from the first lap. That was very interesting. I’ve improved on both surfaces and I’ve learnt a great deal, that will help me progress even more in the future.”