WRC

Rally Australia: Skoda SS1 summary

Toni Gardemeister full of confidence. Toni Gardemeister did five test runs this morning in preparation for the Rally Australia which started tonight. The Skoda Motorsport Team driver used the first run to find his way around the test stage...

Toni Gardemeister full of confidence.

Toni Gardemeister did five test runs this morning in preparation for the Rally Australia which started tonight. The Skoda Motorsport Team driver used the first run to find his way around the test stage and on the second run he suffered a puncture. From then on, things went fine. "The car went really well," said Toni. "We changed the gearbox and the mapping of the differential after New Zealand and now I feel quite confident with the car." Before arriving in Australia Toni did an extra test in Tuscany, Italy, which boosted his confidence. "We learned a lot during that test and it gave me extra confidence for this rally in Australia. I am planning to go flat out here!"

Working hard as ever, Kenneth Eriksson did no less than eight test runs in his Skoda. "The road surface here was more bumpy than I expect on the stages," commented the Swede, who won the Rally Australia in 1995 and followed that up with a series of strong finishes in recent years. After fine-tuning the suspension he pronounced himself happy with the car, predicting: "I will do my very best over the coming days, because this is one of my favourite rallies. We will try to score a good result here."

After the shakedown, Team Principal Pavel Janeba appeared in the FIA pre-rally press conference, commenting on new recruit Didier Auriol: "In Auriol we not only have a former world champion, but also one of the most experienced drivers around, who has intimate knowledge of all the rallies. I am sure that Didier can be a great help in developing our cars further and bringing the team to a higher level still." Speaking about the current drivers, he specifically mentioned Kenneth Eriksson: "We are still talking with Kenneth about a role for him in next year's team. These discussions are not over yet so it is too early to jump to conclusions. We will know everything after Rally Great Britain."

After the first Superspecial stage -- Langley Park Super 1 -- the Skoda drivers are well placed for an attack on the proper stages of the rally, which start tomorrow. Kenneth Eriksson was eighth fastest after a tidy and professional run, while Toni Gardemeister was not far behind him in 13th.

-skoda-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Didier Auriol , Kenneth Eriksson , Toni Gardemeister