Eighth place for Toni Gardemeister brings one WRC point. * Last stage offers thrilling finale to the Swedish Rally. * Another manufacturers point for Skoda Motorsport Team. Toni Gardemeister finished a respectable eighth overall on the Swedish...
Eighth place for Toni Gardemeister brings one WRC point.
* Last stage offers thrilling finale to the Swedish Rally.
* Another manufacturers point for Skoda Motorsport Team.
Toni Gardemeister finished a respectable eighth overall on the Swedish Rally which ended in Karlstad today. This result brought the young Finn one point in the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers, while the Skoda Auto brand collected another Manufacturers point, bringing its total to three. Toni was defending his seventh position in the Swedish Rally but was beaten on the very last stage of the by an inspired Sebastian Loeb, who passed both his team mate Carlos Sainz and the Skoda driver in an all-out effort to improve on his ninth position.
The Skoda Octavia WRC of Toni Gardemeister and Paavo Lukander had an almost trouble-free run over the three days of the rally, needing only precautionary replacements to assure a solid finish in a rally that saw few retirements. The Finns preceded double world champion Carlos Sainz at the finish in Karlstad.
Toni Gardemeister was happy about his Swedish performance saying: "This was great fun. The rally is very fast and exciting, with average speeds well over 100 km/h. But we had no major incidents and hoped to hang on to our seventh position. With the snow and ice melting away under today's sunlight, the road conditions were very tricky. We were flat out but there was no chance of defending my position against Loeb, who was really flying on that last stage."
Petr Kohoutek, Director of Motorsport at Skoda Auto, was pleased with the result of his team, considering the limited time available for testing under winter conditions. He said: "Toni and Paavo did an excellent job, hats off to them. And of course we are happy to see both cars at the finish, although Didier was is no position to challenge."
The French driver used the opportunity to get acquainted with his new Skoda Octavia WRC on icy roads, and tried some new suspension settings; changing the handling to suit his driving style. Didier Auriol commented: "Of course I am happy to be here without further incidents, although my position is nothing to boast about. On the last stage my gearbox gave me problems, so I am happy to reach the finish.."