Up and down day for Suzuki on the twisty roads of Corsica Having proved they have the pace for a points finish in Corsica, the two Suzuki SX4 WRCs of Toni Gardemeister and P-G Andersson hit trouble in separate incidents on the same stage at the...
Up and down day for Suzuki on the twisty roads of Corsica
Having proved they have the pace for a points finish in Corsica, the two Suzuki SX4 WRCs of Toni Gardemeister and P-G Andersson hit trouble in separate incidents on the same stage at the end of day two. The yellow cars started the day in a strong position to score driver and manufacturer points, with Toni Gardemeister holding a points-scoring place for most of the day. Unfortunately he hit fuel pressure problems on SS11, which meant that he was forced to stop. He eventually rejoined the stage directly behind another competitor, but five minutes and the same number of places had been lost. The experienced Finn, who finished second on his last participation in the Tour de Corse three years ago, ended up 13th overnight heading into the final day. Nonetheless, he is still in a strong position to score precious manufacturer points for Suzuki on what is widely reputed to be the most fearsome and challenging asphalt rallies of them all.
P-G Andersson concentrated on building up his confidence today following an accident on the previous asphalt rally in Spain, but he also came to grief on SS11. The stage had previously held happy memories for the young Swede, as it was on the 25-kilometre stretch of road between Calcatoggio and Plage du Liamone that he effectively won his second Junior World Rally Championship title last year, when an accident forced out his title rival. This time though, it was P-G's turn to hit trouble. Just 1.3 kilometres into the stage, he got caught out by a gravelly corner. With roads made dirty by the previous passage of cars on the stage, there was nothing P-G could do as his SX4 WRC skated into the side of the road, ending his day's work on the spot. The car was recovered to the service park in the port of Ajaccio, and he will re-start the final day of the Tour de Corse tomorrow under the super rally system.
Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Neither of the Suzuki SX4 WRCs had any major mechanical problems throughout most of the day, until the troublesome stage 11, where a fuel pump issue cost Toni's SX4 WRC some time.
Toni Gardemeister: "I ended the day having a touring car race with Subaru driver Brice Tirabassi. It was incredible, I caught his car and drove to the end of the stage right behind him - it was like there was a tow-rope between the two cars. We'd lost a bit of time in the last two stages this afternoon, which wasn't so good, but this morning I was happy. The car was running well and we weren't having any trouble. I also felt a little bit better, which was quite nice for me."
P-G Andersson: "The morning had been okay for me. I was still trying to find the confidence after Catalunya. And, in all honesty, I wasn't pushing hard enough. I just wanted to get to the finish of the day - but it wasn't going to be that way. Not far after the start of the last-but-one stage of the day, I was going into a left-hander. I cut the corner, but the bottom of the car skated on the sumpguard. The car went across the road and off on the other side. We couldn't get back to the road, but the car was completely undamaged and we will start again tomorrow."
Shusuke Inagaki, Suzuki World Rally Team Director: "Both drivers showed consistency today. Unfortunately, P-G has had a problem in stage 11 this afternoon, which was a shame because his confidence was coming back to him and he was setting better times. And Toni had gone really well, setting times always in or right on the edge of the top 10. We were happy with that, particularly as he has been struggling with his illness. Then he lost time in both the last stages. Toni and P-G will be back and fighting for Suzuki on these incredible Corsican roads tomorrow."