Andersson hopes to prove a point on Rally d'Italia Sardegna The Suzuki SX4 WRC of P-G Andersson has ended the second day of the Rally d'Italia Sardegna just outside the points, after making solid progress that has underlined the Suzuki World...
Andersson hopes to prove a point on Rally d'Italia Sardegna
The Suzuki SX4 WRC of P-G Andersson has ended the second day of the Rally d'Italia Sardegna just outside the points, after making solid progress that has underlined the Suzuki World Rally Team's focus on reliability. Andersson was ninth at the end of the opening day, while his team mate Toni Gardemeister was forced to retire from the day after hitting rear suspension problems on SS11. He made a temporary repair, but the team decided that it would be safer to withdraw him from the day in order to allow him to re-start tomorrow.
The stages on the second day of the rally were faster and more flowing than those of the previous day, but a hard base and a sandy surface meant that the roads were extremely slippery. In the afternoon, the threat of rain made the choice of set-up at midday service complicated, but both Toni and P-G opted for some compromise settings that worked well in the dry conditions. Having started the day in 11th position, P-G made up two places to end Saturday's action just one position away from the points-scoring places. The young Swede's aim is to maximise any opportunities that come his way tomorrow in order to score a point and reward the efforts of the Suzuki team to improve the SX4 WRC's reliability.
Car news Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Apart from the problem that halted Toni Gardemeister with just one stage to go, the Suzuki World Rally Team fulfilled its objective to work on the SX4 WRC's reliability over today's six stages that totalled 134.60 competitive kilometres. Suzuki learnt several important lessons from the opening day of the event yesterday, and consequently the cars have been generally well-equipped to deal with the challenge of the narrow Sardinian roads throughout day two. The cause of Gardemeister's rear suspension problem will be analysed once the car returns to service at the harbourside in Olbia this evening and it is hoped that he will re-start the rally tomorrow.
Toni Gardemeister: "I'm not really sure what happened, but we had a problem with the rear suspension on SS11 that badly affected the handling of the car. It was a pity, as up until then we had encountered no problems at all and enjoyed another really good day. This just goes to show that when the car is reliable, it can be very effective. We have been deliberately careful not to take any risks today, and I certainly haven't been pushing to the maximum. We'll see what we can do tomorrow, but this rally has been really important for us so far, as it was vital to achieve a basic level of reliability in order to move forwards."
P-G Andersson: "The car has been perfect today, but the roads are challenging: it's extremely difficult to judge the braking as there is such inconsistent grip. Having said that, the stages today were actually in much better condition than I expected: after the rain overnight I thought that they would be more slippery and that they would cut up more than they did. Punctures were a big risk today because of all the rocks on the side of the stages, so I'm glad that we survived them. We're a minute behind eighth place at the moment, so it will be tough to score points but we have to hope: you never know what can happen."
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: "We're obviously disappointed by the problem that Toni picked up so close to the end of today, but for the moment we don't know why it happened and we will need to have a closer look in order to find out. That shouldn't detract though from what has been a very satisfying day in other respects: in particular the flawless reliability of P-G's car, which has enabled us to end the day on the fringes of the points and gather plenty of information that will be very useful for the future. "