WRC »

Q&A: Paul Wilding - Suzuki: EXCLUSIVE.

During this break, the same as the other teams, we are busy re-stocking our vehicles and building the cars for Finland. We will have a couple of new cars in Finland as well. Obviously we have got a lot of parts that need to be swapped over and re-stocking that needs to be done. As far as the actual testing that is going on apart from individual component testing, which is not done actually on the vehicle, the testing that we will do will be limited to or concentrated on a test just prior to the Rally Finland itself. That is the extent of it at this stage.

Crash.net:
How has the team rated the performances of Toni Gardemeister and P-G Andersson?

PW:
We are very pleased. The drivers' are a little bit disappointed that they haven't been able to show more speed. But the focus for us as an entire team has been to get the car to the finish at each event and that has meant we have had to sacrifice a little bit of speed. No driver wants to be told just to make it to the finish. No driver wants to be told to slow down and preserve the car. But the purpose for us is to make the car into as strong a rally car as possible and as reliable a rally car as possible. If it means we have to sacrifice a couple of events worth of speed to make sure the car is in perfect shape for the rest of the year then we just have to do it. Both drivers are very, very encouraged by the speed though and they are both very pleased with the progress that has been made so far. Hopefully as the year progresses we will be able to let the leash out and let them have a bit more of a run. I am sure that you will see a big difference in Finland.

Crash.net:
I believe P-G has just got a one-year deal, has he done enough to stay on?

PW:
P-G has done everything that has been asked of him. He has performed very, very well. P-G and Toni have done an excellent job and we are very, very pleased with them. At this stage we are hoping that things can continue throughout the year and at the end of the year we will be able to look back and say: 'We have achieved great things'. Obviously P-G has been with us a long time - and the whole spirit of what we are trying to achieve is to show that a new manufacturer can come through the ranks and get to the very top level of the sport, as can a young upcoming driver as well. P-G has been an excellent driver for us over the last four years. He achieved two world titles for us [in the Junior WRC] and he is doing a great job for us now. We are very pleased with what he is doing.

Crash.net:
How challenging has it been for you personally, because you weren't appointed team manager until March?

PW:
That is true - but whenever you have a team with so many different nationalities and cultures involved that can in itself bring quite a few difficulties. But we have worked through those difficulties and as much as we are making progress with the SX4 WRC car, we are also making progress with the Suzuki World Rally Team as well. It can't happen overnight but we are chiselling away and hopefully over the next few events you will see some big changes there as well.

Crash.net:
There have been lots of rumours about Suzuki and speculation the team might take a sabbatical. Is there any truth in that?

PW:
I can't answer that. I haven't heard anything like that. Our focus at this stage is to try and achieve the most that we can possibly achieve this year. You don't enter into a project like this very likely. From an economic point of view just to enter the championship for one year would not make sense. The spirit initially behind entering the WRC I know was for a longer period. As far as the rumours that are going around all I can say at this stage is that they are just rumours. They are just speculation. At this stage we are focusing on the job at hand and putting in the hard work so the benefits can be reaped - and reaped in the future.

Crash.net:
There's still a lot of uncertainty with the WRC, in terms of the future regulations and there is still no central promoter appointed too. How concerning is that for Suzuki and the other manufacturers?

PW:
I think it is a very concerning thing for everybody. A couple of the other manufacturers' have said if the outcome of the discussions that are taking place at the moment are not satisfactory with regard to the future, then they may think about pulling out. From our point of view as well we are in the championship because we understood what the championship was all about. It was about getting out there, it was about promoting the brand and it was about showcasing the SX4 WRC car and Suzuki products to the world. It would be nice if the championship could continue to be promoted and if it can be promoted more in the future then it would certainly be of help.

Crash.net:
The Rallye Monte Carlo won't be apart of the WRC next season thanks to this new rotation system. Is there any chance Suzuki could still do it, especially as it is one of the most famous and prestigious rallies there are?

PW:
It is a great rally and it is quite a challenging event for many reasons. It is very challenging logistically. It is very challenging on the cars. It is very challenging on the drivers too. But at this stage we are a little over six months away from that event. As I said before the priority at the moment is to concentrate on making sure we get the most out of the next seven events. We need to make good progress and focus on building a car that is capable of taking it to the top and challenging the other guys. As far as any participation in Monte Carlo next year goes I would have to say at this stage I wouldn't rule it out. But I can't say whether we will or whether we won't do it.

Crash.net:
Final question, sum up what you want to see Suzuki achieve in the second half of the year?

PW:
In the second half of the season we'd like to think that there are some more consistent finishes on the cards. We'd like to have both cars at the finish of each event. That will be the number one target. Also once that starts to happen - and the changes to the car that we have made get fine-tuned - I think towards the middle of the next seven events you should start to see some very good speed. We are coming up to some good events. The drivers are very, very confident on the events that follow. Towards the end of the year we should be going quite well and anywhere mid-top ten should be achievable.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Suzuki World Rally Team manager Paul Wilding and P-G Andersson [Pic credit: Suzuki WRT / McKlein]
Paul Wilding. Suzuki World Rally Team. Team manager. [Pic credit: Suzuki WRT / McKlein]
Dani Sordo. Hyundai i20 WRC. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014
Dani Sordo. Hyundai i20 WRC. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorin Pulpea (ROM), Citroen DS3 R3
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorin Pulpea (ROM), Citroen DS3 R3
Marco Tempestini (ITA) Nicola Arena (ITA), Subaru Impreza
Marco Tempestini (ITA) Nicola Arena (ITA), Subaru Impreza
Molly Taylor (AUST) Sebastian Marshall (GB), Citroen DS3 R3
Molly Taylor (AUST) Sebastian Marshall (GB), Citroen DS3 R3
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Michal Solowow (POL) Maciej Baran (POL), Ford Fiesta WRC
Michal Solowow (POL) Maciej Baran (POL), Ford Fiesta WRC
Michal Solowow (POL) Maciej Baran (POL), Ford Fiesta WRC
Michal Solowow (POL) Maciej Baran (POL), Ford Fiesta WRC
Michal Solowow (POL) Maciej Baran (POL), Ford Fiesta WRC

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.