Suzuki celebrates with both SX4 WRCs in the points in New Zealand The final day of Rally New Zealand took crews to some of the most photographed and talked about stages on the whole World Rally Championship calendar. The Te Hutewai and Whaanga...
Suzuki celebrates with both SX4 WRCs in the points in New Zealand
The final day of Rally New Zealand took crews to some of the most photographed and talked about stages on the whole World Rally Championship calendar. The Te Hutewai and Whaanga Coast stages go as far west of the rally base in Hamilton as possible - they run along the headland of the Tasman Sea. Both Suzuki drivers Toni Gardemeister and P-G Andersson were looking forward to the stages, which are as much a treat for the drivers as they are for the spectators. And they turned out to be a fitting setting for Suzuki's best World Rally Championship finish yet, with Andersson climbing the leaderboard through the final day to sixth and his team-mate Gardemeister finishing just one place further back in seventh place. It was no wonder the drivers received such a rapturous welcome back into Hamilton from the local Kiwi fans and everybody in the Suzuki World Rally Team. A trouble-free run to seven points on one of the toughest rallies in the world was the perfect result for everybody.
Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Andersson's only problem through the final day's 85 kilometres of competitive action was a double puncture on the penultimate stage, beyond that both Suzuki SX4 WRCs ran without any technical faults - as they have done for all three days and 353 kilometres of Rally New Zealand.
Toni Gardemeister: "I really enjoy these roads and today, like every day on this rally, the SX4 WRC worked very well. I had a spin on the long one this morning, it was quite tough to find the feeling on the gravel in there, but after that the day has been getting better and better. The team has worked really hard for this and we deserve the points and the finish. I'm really happy."
P-G Andersson: "I drove a little bit like my grandmother this morning! I knew there was so much to lose by making a mistake today, which meant there was quite a lot of pressure. The car was really good, but it was tough to find a rhythm and get into the morning stages, they were really loose at times. As well as that, I was struggling a little bit with the pace notes, they were too fast for the corners. It was such a shame for the last run through Whaanga Coast, that's a great stage, but a couple of kilometres into the stage we got a puncture, so we had to do the whole stage like that. Then later on, we got another puncture and dropped more time. Okay, this wasn't the best way to end it, but it has been a great rally for the whole team - and our faultless SX4 WRC."
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: "As you can imagine, I'm pretty delighted with the way things have gone. This is a great payback for all the incredible hard work everybody in the team has put in. We have all worked tirelessly towards seeing the Suzuki SX4 WRC show this kind of reliability and pace. There's more to come, but for now we're all just going to enjoy this result. Fantastic!"