25 Jan 08
Suzuki World Rally Team driver Per-Gunnar Andersson received a 40-second penalty at service 'B' this morning after technical work took longer than the allotted 10-minutes.
Last night Andersson’s SX4 WRC returned to Valence with front-wheel drive only after it was affected by rear driveshaft problems on the opening two stages. Despite a broken clutch on SS2 and an intermittent intercom problem, Suzuki’s lead driver Toni Gardemeister brought his SX4 WRC through both stages in the top 10.
Suzuki team principal, Nobuhiro Tajima said he was pleased with what his team has achieved so far. “I am very happy indeed,” he said. “To be in a provisional points-scoring place in our first proper rally is a great achievement. It’s a very encouraging position for the start of our first rally. Step by step, we’ll keep working to improve.”
After the two night stages of day one, Friday’s action takes competitors into the Ardeche mountains, south-west of Valence, for two identical clockwise loops of three stages, split by a return to the Valence service park.
After an early morning start crews will return to Valance for the second overnight halt at 1956hrs after 116 stage kilometres.