Tapio Suominen started as a racer in 1999 and for a long time was a co-driver to Toni Gardemeister in classic rally. In 2007, Tapio conquered the title of Finland’s National Champion in Young Driver category, he also climbed on to the podium in the rounds in China, Thailand, Latvia, Great Britain, Italy, and Czech Republic. At the baja Russia – Northern Forest 2013 he ranked in second position in overall standings as a co-driver to Jouni AMPUJA.
Tapio has always dreamt of becoming a driver rather than being a co-driver, and his co-racers describe him more often as a natural driver too.
In 2014 at the winter baja in Russia Tapio was already steering his Mitsubishi Pajero with Jukko Tuomisto as a co-driver. The crew was dominating the national championship classification but getting off track 300 meters before the finish line robs them of the leading position.
This year, Tapio and his new co-driver Toni Nesman have ample goals and a new car. And he is sharing the news about both with the press service of Russia – Northern Forest 2015.
Tapio Suominen: There is a number of winter rallies in Finland. The best of them is Arctic Rally held in Lapland with its’ lengthy sections and very high speed. Last year I didn’t got lots of opportunities to test my driving skills on snow surfaces. But I like driving various kinds of vehicles in winter. For instance, this year I’ve got a lot of training with my VALMET 602-79 tractor.
Sporting cars should be very finely tuned to be competitive in cross-country, another essential factor is the right choice of tyres and studs.
Last year’s Northern Forest routes were just superb – fast tracks, very narrow and bumpy. It’s a nice combination resembling WRC routes very much. This year, the race is being relocated to Karelia that is not quite far from Finland. I guess I can call it my home race now, the nature and the routes bearing only too much resemblance to Finland.
Tell us about your car, your expectations from the race and this seasons aims.
Tapio Suominen: This time I am driving an Overdrive’s Toyota Hilux. We’ve tested it in Finland, where the routes and conditions are very similar to those expected at the baja.
Naturally, I want to win! I am aiming at a good result in the baja and will be considering all proposals for the rest of the season 2015. And even though I like driving much more, there is no drama if I have to change seats in some races.