27 Apr 08
The Suzuki World Rally Team endured mixed fortunes in Jordan.
Finn Toni Gardemeister retired on the rally’s opening day when a stone hit the bottom of his car, damaging the sump. P-G Andersson also went off the road on day one, but bounced back with top 10 times and a reliable run through day two, only for the Swede to fall victim to the difficult road conditions for the second time this morning.
Sunday started well for P-G and his co-driver Jonas Andersson. The pair showed their most competitive pace of the rally on the 9km Wadi Shueib test (SS18), posting the fourth fastest time in their SX4 WRC. Unfortunately, that was the last stage Andersson and the Suzuki would complete as he slid off the road in the Jordan River stage (SS19) and retired from the event.
“This is a really disappointing end to the event for me and for the team,” said Andersson. “I don’t really understand what happened on stage 19 and how I ended up off the road. It had been going well for me. It was very loose, with a lot of gravel on the surface of the road, but we hadn’t had a problem. We came into a slow left-hand bend, which led into a hairpin right. I had a half-spin after the left, which dropped the front of the car down into the inside of the hairpin. The car went nose in. The rear wheels were still on the road. I put the car in reverse gear straight away, hoping it would reverse out, but the gradient was too steep. Jonas and I jumped out of the car to try and get some more people to help us. Only two people were around. We tried to lift the car out, but it was impossible.”
Toni Gardemeister was disappointed not to have finished the event. “You go to every rally wanting to get to the end, chasing the best possible result,” he said. Here I had a real feeling that we could get the SX4 WRC high up the order. I knew there would be a high rate of attrition on what’s going to be one of the hottest rallies of the year, but I was really sad we were one of the early victims. The good thing is that P-G showed some good pace yesterday, which is an indication of what the SX4 WRC is capable of.”
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager said: “I think the performance which the team has turned in has demonstrated the speed and the potential of the SX4 WRC. We have been able to take a lot of encouragement from this result. P-G was under a second per kilometre off the pace of the fastest car yesterday, which demonstrates what the Suzuki SX4 WRC is capable of.”