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.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Lindholm (FIN) / Tomi Tuominen (FIN), Suzuki WRT SX4 WRC
Toni Gardemeister and Per-Gunnar Andersson, Suzuki World Rally Team [Pic credit: Suzuki]
Suzuki World Rally Team 2008 line-up [Pic credit: Suzuki]
Sebastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport, [Credit: Volkswagen Motorsport]
Thierry Neuville (BEL), Hyundai Motorsport [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Skoda Fabia R 5 (CZE), Skoda motorsport [Credit: Skoda motorsport]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]
Valeriy Gorban (UKR) Volodymyr Korsia (UKR), Mini John Cooper Works
Valeriy Gorban (UKR) Volodymyr Korsia (UKR), Mini John Cooper Works
Yazeed Al Rajhi, Michal Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC, #31 Yazeed Racing)

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Dafydd larcombe - Unregistered

December 18, 2007 12:34 PM

For Dug: I think what let Chris down was his attrition rate,yes he has great speed but I think Suzuki was looking at the two titles that P.G. has won in both 2004 and 2006,perhaps Suzuki just thought he was the better candidiate.I would love to see both Chris and Guy get a decent drive for 2008.I was particularly pleased to see that impressive performance from Chris on this years Rally Ireland super special Rally opener.Anyway they have made their choice now - so we need to see if that will work for them.I would deerly love to see Markko Martin make a return,winning the Bettega rally sprint is a hint that he has really lost none of his speed and ability.Its a terrible shame he is missing.

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