08 Feb 08
The Suzuki World Rally Team has confirmed that P-G Andersson’s SX4 WRC suffered terminal engine damage as a result of a faulty head gasket and will not restart the Swedish Rally on Saturday.
The team has also revealed that the same faulty batch of gaskets was responsible for Toni Gardemeister’s retirement from Rallye Monte Carlo under similar circumstances.
Andersson’s car stopped midway through SS4, when the Swedish driver was lying seventh overall.
“It’s sad, but we knew that things like this will happen during the season when you have a new car,” said Andersson. “But for sure it’s a pity when it’s your home event and you’ve been waiting 27 years for it.”
Despite the set-back, Andersson remains positive about what he and the team have achieved so far: “The rally had started well. Of course I was pushing, but not over the limit, I knew I had to stay on the road, that was the most important thing. Today’s first stage was good, the second I struggled a bit on, but generally it was pretty good.”
Team principal Nobuhiro Tajima said: "I feel extremely sorry for P-G, who certainly deserved more than this on his home event after scoring a point for us in Monte Carlo. Under the rules we could not change the engine and while this is fair enough for the established teams, for us as a newcomer it makes the learning process even more challenging. Now we have had two retirements caused by the same problem, which we have not been allowed to solve during the events.”