Suzuki take positives from tough Jordan Rally

Prior to the event, the third and final day of the Jordan Rally had been billed as the toughest. With the arduous Jordan River stage - at 41.45km, the longest of the event - run twice, it was not going to be a battle to the finish in the continued scorching temperatures. The day started well for P-G Andersson and his co-driver Jonas Andersson. They turned in an exceptional time on the Wadi Shueib test which followed, posting fourth fastest time in the SX4 WRC. Unfortunately, that was the last stage Andersson and the Suzuki would complete on this fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Andersson slid off the road in the ensuing Jordan River stage and retired from the event. Andersson returned to the service park where he met His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The Suzuki World Rally Team endured mixed fortunes in Jordan. Toni Gardemeister retired on the opening day when he was unlucky enough to have a stone hit the bottom of the car, damaging the sump. Andersson went off the road on day one, but bounced back with top 10 times through day two, only for the Swede to fall victim to the difficult road conditions for the second time this morning.

Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):

Andersson's Suzuki SX4 WRC ran without any technical faults through the final morning. The team had made no significant overnight changes to the set-up after the Swede's solid run through Saturday's eight stages. The sister SX4 WRC of Andersson's team-mate Toni Gardemeister did not re-start this morning.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister: "Of course I am disappointed not to have finished this event. You go to every rally wanting to get to the end; chasing the best possible result. Here I had a real feeling that we could get the SX4 WRC high up the order. I knew there would be a high rate of attrition on what's going to be one of the hottest rallies of the year, but I was really sad that we were one of the early victims. The good thing is that P-G has shown some pace yesterday, which is an indication of what the SX4 WRC is capable of."

P-G Andersson: "This is a really disappointing end to the event for me and for the team. I don't really understand what happened on stage 19 and how I ended up off the road. It had been going well for me. It was very loose, with a lot of gravel on the surface of the road, but we hadn't had a problem. We came into a slow left-hand bend, which led into a hairpin right. I had a half-spin after the left which dropped the front of the car down into the inside of the hairpin. The car went nose in. The rear wheels were still on the road. I put the car in reverse gear straight away, hoping it would reverse out, but the gradient was too steep. Jonas and I jumped out of the car to try and get some more people to help us. Only two people were around. We tried to lift the car out, but it was impossible. On the stage before we'd been fourth quickest, and I was really enjoying it. Obviously I didn't want to retire from the event, but it was an honour to meet His Majesty King Abdullah II. He was very interested to take a look at the SX4 WRC."

Team news:
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager:
"Our goal today was not to risk anything, but to bring the car home to the finish and build on the positive results for the SX4 WRC yesterday. Everything was looking good this morning, particularly the fourth fastest time in SS18. The circumstances surrounding P-G going off the road on the next stage are quite strange. I don't think he was taking risks or pushing too hard. We have seen all the way through this event how difficult this event has been. Many of the other drivers have been caught out by the stage conditions. I think the performance which the team has turned in has demonstrated the speed and the potential of the SX4 WRC. We have been able to take a lot of encouragement from this result. P-G was under a second per kilometre off the pace of the fastest car yesterday, which demonstrates what the Suzuki SX4 WRC is capable of."

SS 17
SS 18
SS 19
SS 20
SS 21
SS 22
Sunday 27th April

Mikko Hirvonen
Daniel Sordo
Chris Atkinson
Henning Solberg
Matthew Wilson
Jari-Matti Latvala
Federico Villagra
Gigi Galli



Rd.15 GB

Rd.15 GB

  [Legendary land - Wales]
  [Team story in Rally Japan]
  [Toni and P-G's Rally Japan Tour]

#10 Mechanic's portrait: Stefan Erixon

#09 Mechanic's portrait: Esa Häkkinen