Suzuki at its strongest with the SX4 WRC taking Acropolis points
The final day of the Acropolis Rally of Greece took crews through another six tough stages to the north of Athens, with the last test being played out in front of thousands of passionate rally fans at the superspecial at Tatoi military airbase, the event's base for the last three days. Sweden's P-G Andersson turned in a sensational day at the wheel of his Suzuki SX4 WRC. He was only out of the top 10 times once and managed one fifth and one sixth quickest time after a trouble-free day. Unfortunately, not even the double Junior World Rally Champion's scintillating pace through these rockiest of roads was enough to land him a top 10 position on the event. Andersson's team-mate Toni Gardemeister did collect a top-10 finish, placing the sister SX4 WRC in ninth place after a similarly straightforward day. Despite three days of high drama and astonishingly tough competition, Suzuki has had one of its SX4 WRCs in the top 10 for the duration of the toughest round of the World Rally Championship so far this season. Andersson climbed as high as sixth overall before slipping back on yesterday's second day. Gardemeister's Suzuki remained reliable, save for a small problem on day two due to a damaged exhaust system. The team's reward for its effort on the Acropolis comes in the shape of both cars scoring points in the manufacturers' championship.
Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Toni Gardemeister was pleased with the tweaks the Suzuki World Rally Team made to his car yesterday. His only problem through the day was being caught in the dust after he caught competitors starting in the stage ahead of him. P-G Andersson re-started the event this morning after suffering from suspension trouble yesterday, but despite the intensely rough conditions, the SX4 WRC didn't suffer any similar troubles, allowing him to take the car to its most competitive day in the championship so far.
"We've had a good day today. The dust has been quite bad on some of the stages. With the very hot conditions and the rocky roads, when there is no wind around, you know the dust can stay around. I was pleased with the car. Today the engine felt very good. This rally shows we are going in the right direction with the car and making very good progress."
P-G Andersson: "The car has been fantastic today. I've really enjoyed driving in these stages, we've had a lot of fun. Parts of the third and sixth stage were so rough, you couldn't believe it - but we came through without the car missing a beat. It's been perfect. My only problem today was this morning, when I missed one junction in the dust. This is a great event for the whole team - particularly coming on the back of Sardinia which was strong for us as well. Now we're all looking forward to Turkey in two weeks."
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: "The team has achieved its objectives here on probably the toughest rally the World Rally Championship will encounter all season. It's been amazingly rough in places, but Suzuki and the SX4 WRC has encountered less problems than many of its rivals. We have picked up manufacturers points with both cars and set some great times along the way. All-in-all, this has been a very good event for us. We go home from here happy and looking forward to the challenges which lie in wait."