Suzuki Juniors race to the finish of this year's championship The Rally de Espana is the penultimate round of this year's Junior World Rally Championship, which will come to a swift conclusion with two asphalt rounds held back-to-back in Spain...
Suzuki Juniors race to the finish of this year's championship
The Rally de Espana is the penultimate round of this year's Junior World Rally Championship, which will come to a swift conclusion with two asphalt rounds held back-to-back in Spain and Corsica on consecutive weekends. Only one Suzuki Swift Super 1600 was represented on the first sealed-surface round of the 2008 Junior World Rally Championship - last month's Rallye Deutschland - but this time Suzuki is up to full strength with three Swift Super 1600s taking to the Spanish asphalt. Suzuki Sport Europe will field two cars for the Estonian Jaan Molder and Polish driver Michal Kosciuszko. Suzuki Rallye Junior Team Germany will run one car for Florian Niegel, who showed some very promising pace on the Rallye Deutschland last month.
The roads in the area around the seaside resort of Salou tend to be wide and fast, presenting the drivers with a very specific challenge. The weather conditions in Spain can be variable as well, as Europe is now in mid-autumn and some of the stages are held at high altitude. For the two-wheel drive cars, Spain presents a particular test as the key is to conserve momentum on the flowing roads and avoid damaging the vulnerable tyre sidewalls whilst cutting corners.
With the championship entering its closing stages and the following event less than a week away, none of the drivers can afford to take too many risks. However, Spain is also one of their last chances to improve on their final title classifications. With two rounds left to go, Kosciuszko is fourth in the series, Molder is eighth, and Niegel is 12th.
The Rally de Espana gets underway with a ceremonial start on Thursday 2 October at 20:00 in Salou and concludes at 15:00 on Sunday 5 October after 18 stages and 353.62 competitive kilometres.
News from Jan Molder (EE) - Suzuki Swift n.32:
"I've competed on the Catalunya Rally just once before, finishing sixth in the Juniors with a Suzuki Swift last year, so I only know the stages a little bit. Asphalt is still not my strong point and I have not competed on this surface at all this year, so it is sure to be tough for me. The Swift is actually very well suited to the conditions in Spain as it is strong and the engine is very powerful: it's just a question of trying to get the best out of it and keeping the right rhythm."
News from Michal Kosciuszko (PL) - Suzuki Swift n.35:
"Catalunya is one of the rallies that I know quite well as I have done it for the last two years, although last year we unfortunately had to retire after an accident. The year before we finished fifth with an Ignis. We will have to keep a close eye on the championship situation now, which is interesting: although we are fourth we are only three points off second place. Above all we need to finish in Spain in order to maximise our chances on the final round in Corsica."
News from Florian Niegel (D) - Suzuki Swift n.43:
"Even though we dropped a lot of time after going off, we took several lessons out of the Rallye Deutschland last month and I was able to gain some valuable asphalt experience. For me this year is all about learning, and as I have never competed in Spain before my aim will be just to get to the finish and score some points if possible. From what I have heard this will be quite a technical rally, so I need to concentrate on making good pace notes during the recce."