WRC » 17 December 2007
Suzuki names drivers for `08.
The Suzuki World Rally Team has revealed that Toni Gardemeister and Per-Gunnar Andersson will pilot the all-new SX4 WRC cars in 2008.
The Japanese manufacturer, which will step up to the 'senior' level for the first time next season following several years in the FIA Junior Rally Championship, has opted for a blend of experience and youth.
Gardemeister, a former works WRC driver with Ford and Skoda, has competed in nearly 100 WRC events and will bring substantial know-how, while P-G graduates from Suzuki's JRC programme, having won the drivers' title twice - once with the Ignis Super 1600 in 2004 and this year with the Swift Super 1600.
"Toni is one of the world's best rally drivers with a wide experience on gravel, asphalt, snow and ice, but also with superb testing skills. And with PG, the first and only person to win the Junior Rally Championship title two times on a Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 in 2004, this year with the Suzuki Swift Super 1600 , we are continuing a close and very successful partnership," said Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima, president of Suzuki Sport and principal of the Suzuki World Rally Team.
"Together with their co-drivers Tomi [Tuominen] and Jonas [Andersson] they form a very strong unit, enabling us to push the cars development and take the SX4 WRC to its next level."
Gardemeister, who since being dropped by Ford at the end of 2005 has had two years in the WRC wilderness, is looking forward to tackling a full-season again.
"It is very nice to work with a newcomer," stated the Finn. "Suzuki has a great team and I am happy that I can be part of this exciting project. I am sure that we have to work very hard together, but that we will have a great future."
P-G is also excited about the WRC entry and finally getting a chance at the pinnacle of the sport: "I am really looking forward to joining the Suzuki World Rally Team. It will be my first year in the WRC, so there are many things to learn," he added. "I have been in the Suzuki family for four years now and know the team's exceptional capability."
Suzuki will enter its first full WRC season with the SX4 next month, when the Rallye Monte Carlo gets underway on January 24. It will be the SX4 WRC's third event, after two 'test' outings this year on the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse and the Wales Rally GB.
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