21 Jul 08
Suzuki World Rally Team
Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima
Suzuki SX4 WRC
Toni Gardemeister, Per-Gunnar Andersson
WRC wins at end of 2007:
After two introductory events last year, the all new Suzuki World Rally Team enters its first full World Rally Championship season in 2008. With a new car, the SX4 WRC, and a driver line-up that pairs the experienced Toni Gardemeister with one of the WRC's ascendant stars, two-time Junior champion, Per-Gunnar Andersson, Suzuki could be capable of upsetting some of the more established teams in 2008.
To many people, the Suzuki name is more usually associated with two-wheeled racing than four, but the company's commitment to the top class of the World Rally Championship could be about to change that. Suzuki's first serious attempts at automotive competition began in 1986 when it partnered Japanese motorsport preparation company, Monster International, to establish a specialist division called Suzuki Sport. Under this banner, Suzuki participated in a number of different series, including the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the Pikes Peak International hill climb.
Lead driver for many of the early Suzuki Sport activities was the company's charismatic president, Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima, who still takes a hands-on approach to his work: Last year he drove a 1000bhp Suzuki Sport XL7 Hill Climb Special to the top of Pikes Peak in a record breaking 10m 01.4s. Next year he's hoping to do it in less than 10 minutes.