Toni Gardemeister (9th) again in top form. Toni Gardemeister was in an upbeat mood when he arrived in Perth before the last Superspecial stage of Day One of the Telstra Rally Australia. He expressed his satisfaction with his Skoda Octavia WRC,...
Toni Gardemeister (9th) again in top form.
Toni Gardemeister was in an upbeat mood when he arrived in Perth before the last Superspecial stage of Day One of the Telstra Rally Australia. He expressed his satisfaction with his Skoda Octavia WRC, stating: “The first stages went very well. We had no problems at all. The car handled to my liking and did not miss a beat. Only the third stage made me worry, because it was very, very slippery. I did not want to risk too much so I went very carefully and probably lost some time there.
Looking ahead, the young Skoda Motorsport driver saw no reason to make major changes, predicting: “If the car feels like this we can go on without any big adjustments. We want to keep the settings as they are because I am happy this way.” Speaking about the weather conditions, he commented: “Rain is very unusual for the Rally Australia, because it is normally very dry and warm. We have never seen so much water on the road before and that makes the tracks very slippery.”
Less happy was Kenneth Eriksson, who suffered a series of mechanical setbacks during the day. After stage four both the gearbox and differential were changed, but all was still not well on board. The long repairs cost him an additional 40 seconds in penalties for exceeding allowed service times.
After the first day of the rally, Skoda Motorsport Team Principal Pavel Janeba was philosophical, commenting: “Toni did a good job today and he has a fair chance of collecting a manufacturers point if we go on like this. We have to apologise to Kenneth – his transmission problems necessitated a complete gearbox and differential change which lost him valuable time. Everyone worked as hard as they could but time ran out and that cost us dearly.”
The fact that already four top contenders are out after Day One means that this rally takes a heavy toll. If Toni Gardemeister can keep going on like today he stands a good chance of collecting a manufacturers point.