05 Jun 08
The Suzuki World Rally Team demonstrated the improving reliability of its SX4 in Greece when, for the first time ever, both its cars completed a WRC rally.
The SX4 WRC has been dogged by mechanical problems on the early rounds this season - Suzuki’s first as a fully fledged WRC outfit - and the team went to Greece with the objective of improving the basic reliability of its car.
And despite the toughest conditions seen on the Acropolis Rally for years, team drivers Toni Gardemeister and Per-Gunnar Andersson both completed the challenge, and both were able to add to Suzuki’s tally in the manufacturers’ championship.
Gardemeister was the team’s best scorer, taking two points for finishing ninth, while Andersson took one point when he finished 11th.
Suzuki Team Manager Paul Wilding said that despite the punishing conditions the SX4 had fared better than a lot of the competition. "The team has achieved its objectives on probably the toughest rally the World Rally Championship will encounter all season,” said Wilding. “It's been amazingly rough in places, but Suzuki and the SX4 WRC has encountered fewer problems than many of its rivals. We have picked up manufacturers points with both cars and set some great times along the way. All-in-all, this has been a very good event for us. We go home from here happy and looking forward to the challenges which lie in wait."
Gardemeister's Suzuki remained reliable for much of the rally, save for a problem on day two due to a damaged exhaust system. “I was pleased with the car and on the final day the engine felt especially good,” said Gardemeister. “This rally shows we are going in the right direction with the car and making very good progress."
Sweden's P-G Andersson re-started the event on Sunday after retiring on Saturday with broken suspension. He made up on place on the final day after finding his most competitive pace of the rally. He was only out of the top 10 times just once and managed one fifth and one sixth quickest time during a trouble-free day.
"I really enjoyed driving on Sunday’s stages, the car was perfect and we had a lot of fun,” said Andersson. “This has been a great event for the whole team - particularly coming after Sardinia which was strong for us as well. Now we're all looking forward to Turkey in two weeks."