18 May 08
Per-Gunnar Andersson ended the Rally d’Italia Sardegna inside the top 10 following three days of reliable running in his SX4 WRC.
Andersson, who ended up ninth, described his car as ‘perfect’ throughout the entire rally, and with the exception of some service work which overran on Friday - and led to a 10-second penalty - he enjoyed a trouble free event. He ended the rally with his most competitive form, setting the sixth-fastest time on the final stage.
“It’s been a very tough rally for us but a good one - the car has been perfect from start to finish,” said Andersson. “We’ve had no major problems despite the challenging conditions, which made it very difficult to judge the correct pace, particularly under braking. I hope now that we have got a good basis to work from for the future. I wasn’t actually thinking much about points on this event - for all of us the priority was to get the car to the finish safely and I’m very pleased that we have been able to do that.”
His team mate Toni Gardemeister was not so lucky - retiring from day two with broken suspension and failing to complete the final day due to an electrical problem after SS14.
“It’s not been a perfect rally for us, but the most important thing is that the team has completed lots of development work and proved with P-G that we can have a good level of reliability,” said Gardemeister. “It’s always tough in your first year, but I think now we are really beginning to turn a corner and make some solid progress. Of course there is plenty of work still to do but we are definitely on the right road.”
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager said: “This has been a very satisfying rally for us as we achieved a lot of what we set out to do: to try to get the cars to the finish despite some very rough and challenging conditions. It’s just a pity that we couldn’t achieve this with both SX4 WRCs, but we will be analysing what happened with Toni’s car very carefully, and I’m confident that we’ll keep learning and improving into the future.”