M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen secured their first top three finish of the year at this weekend’s Rally Mexico.

The pair expertly piloted their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC around the high-altitude stages to get themselves onto the third step of the podium.

Highlighting their potential with the fastest time through the first pass of Thursday’s Shakedown, the Finns continued to impress and upheld their strong performance with pace and consistency throughout the weekend.

“It’s been brilliant watching Teemu this weekend,” said the team principal Richard Millener. “He had a tough start to the season, but we all knew what he was capable of and this is the confidence-boosting result he needed.

“From the second he got in the car, you could see his intent and he maintained that speed and consistency all weekend.

“He has fully regrouped after a disappointing start, and it really was great to see him showing the pace and performance of the Fiesta this weekend.

Locked in an intense battle for second place with reigning World Champion Ott Tänak, Suninen more than held his own through Saturday’s final stages and was on course to keep the Estonian at bay before picking up a brake issue through the closing kilometres.

Losing the brakes on the second pass of Derramadero (SS18), the young Finn was forced to relinquish the fight but managed the issue through the final spectator stages to secure a thoroughly deserved podium - the third of his career so far.

“I’m really happy with what I was able to do here this weekend, and really proud to bring this good result home for the team,” said Suninen.

“I think it was a good drive from me this weekend and we were able to be really consistent which was important.

“Of course it would have been nice to have taken the second position, but Ott was driving really fast and we had some brake issues that we had to manage.

“Still I think we have shown that the potential is there, so let’s see what we can do in the next rallies.”

Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson had also been on course for a strong result - holding sixth place before a sensor issue brought their Fiesta to a halt two kilometres into the first pass of Alfaro (SS14).

They were able to find and solve the issue with spares carried in the car. But the damage had already been done and they dropped more than 10 minutes to the leading pack.

Ending the rally ninth overall, the pair had hoped for more, but gained a wealth of experience and showed good progress through Saturday’s stages - coming out on top in two head-to-heads on the closing Super Specials.