Suzuki just outside the points after strong second day in Germany The second day of the Rallye Deutschland is renowned as one of the toughest days on the entire World Rally Championship calendar, with the crews facing the fearsome Baumholder ...
Suzuki just outside the points after strong second day in Germany
The second day of the Rallye Deutschland is renowned as one of the toughest days on the entire World Rally Championship calendar, with the crews facing the fearsome Baumholder stages made up of fast concrete roads through a military camp. No mistakes go unpunished, as the stages are flanked by imposing 'hinkelsteins' - large stone blocks - and there are also many high kerbs. Despite all these hazards, the Suzuki SX4 WRC of Toni Gardemeister returns to parc ferme in the historic city of Trier this evening holding a solid 10th overall, and he is well-placed to take advantage of any opportunities to record another points-scoring finish tomorrow.
His young team mate P-G Andersson, competing in Germany for the first time since 2005, started the day just half a second behind Gardemeister. Unfortunately he was caught out by a tricky corner on SS8 and broke a driveshaft. He had to deal with the problem for two further stages before service and dropped a lot of time, ending up 16th overnight.
Today's action consisted of eight stages and 157 competitive kilometres, with the weather remaining dry and warm despite some predicted rain. Just 84 competitive kilometres now separate the Suzuki drivers from the finish ramp tomorrow in Trier.
Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Both drivers continued to work on the asphalt set-up of the car, not having competed on a sealed-surface event since Monte Carlo in January. The SX4 WRC was once more entirely reliable throughout the day, with the problems on P-G Andersson's car only arising as the result of his impact against a kerb on SS8. He then had to face the longest stage of the rally - the 30.38 kilometres of Panzerplatte - with just three-wheel drive and only his front brakes. Gardemeister enjoyed another faultless day and used the stages to increase his asphalt experience behind the wheel of the SX4 WRC. A number of suspension adjustments steadily improved the handling of the car throughout the day, and he finished every stage bar one in the top 10.
Toni Gardemeister: "It was actually a good day for us as we had no real problems at all despite the difficulty of the stages. Day two in Germany is one of the toughest days of the whole World Championship, so I'm very pleased to be here at the end. We were able to do top 10 times on nearly all of the stages without pushing too hard. It's been quite positive for us so far."
P-G Andersson: "I was just caught out by bad luck today: it was a tight right hairpin with a sharp tarmac edge inside. When I pulled the handbrake to get the car around the corner, the inside right wheel hit the tarmac and broke. First I thought we just had a puncture, but when I got to the stage finish we realised then what had happened. The rest of the rally is going to be all about testing for us now, which is important as we have two other asphalt rounds coming up this year."
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: "Our drivers have had mixed fortunes today, but the most important thing is that we are close to the points with Toni and well on the way to getting both cars to the finish with good reliability. Considering that this is our first asphalt rally since Monte Carlo with this car, we've all been encouraged by the positive progress made so far."