04 Apr 08
Suzuki World Rally Team principal Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima says that sheer bad luck played a big part in his team’s disappointing performance on Rally Argentina and that some of the previous reliability issues of the SX4 WRC have now been solved.
The team two Suzuki SX4 WRCs arrived in Argentina with a revised head gasket designed to prevent a repeat of failures that forced Toni Gardemeister out in Monte Carlo, P-G Andersson out in Sweden and an early double retirement in Mexico.
In Argentina both Suzuki drivers experimented with set-ups on the soft and wet stages and concentrated on learning as much as possible for the future, but both experienced their share of mechanical problems.
The first day of Andersson's rally was halted by a turbo boost pressure sensor failure, while a suspension breakage stopped his run on day two. He restarted on Sunday and set the eighth-fastest time through the Giulio Cesare stage, hinting at the potential of the SX4 WRC on a clean run with no problems.
Gardemeister had a reliable run on the opening day before hitting a rock in the afternoon. He re-joined for day two but was held back by a combination of hydraulic and electronic problems that prevented him from completing the leg. Gardemeister re-started the final day in order to rack up some test kilometres but did not make the finish.
“It's clear that we have a lot of work still ahead of us, and although we are very disappointed we have also been quite unlucky here," said Tajima. “The boost pressure sensor that stopped P-G on the opening day is a very small component, and it was very unusual for Toni to find a rock that was right on the racing line. We seem to have solved some of the reliability issues that have affected us in the past, but we need to keep working hard in order to solve all the issues we encounter. Only when we have achieved this will we be able to reach our eventual target of competing regularly amongst the frontrunners.”