While eighth and ninth place after day one of the Rally New Zealand is unlikely to be considered a success for most top teams, for Suzuki will seem like a small victory.

Not so much a victory for their decent pace, but rather that both Per-Gunnar Andersson and Toni Gardemeister got through the day's seven stages with no mechanical problems to speak of.

Revelling in a car that was working well beneath him, Andersson produced two top five stage times over the course of the day to run as high as seventh before dropping back to his eventual eighth place.

Nonetheless, the Swede was delighted to end the day trouble-free, the former Junior WRC Champion lauding the often-maligned SX4 as 'perfect'.

"The first stage was really tough, it was a bit of a surprise. The car was much too hard and this was combined with the driving been too bad. The tyre was too hard for the conditions, but this is the same for everybody.

"We came out of the first stage and made some changes to the suspension on the car - we softened it as much as we could. This helped in the second stage and then in the third, everything was going really well.

"I found the re-run of Pirongia West (SS4) quite hard, I couldn't find a rhythm in the stage. It's been a good day today, though. The car has been perfect and we're in the best position possible. Now we have to stay there."

Gardemeister has also shown decent top ten pace today, although his hopes of dicing with Andersson for the final points place was hurt early on by a puncture. Nonetheless, he remains a threatening ninth.

"This morning was disappointing for me. I really wanted a good run here and had a nice feeling, but then we got the puncture. After that, the rest of the day has been good. No problems. The car has been running well, but the conditions have been tough this morning. Running through the stages the second time, the line is looking cleaner which is helping to give us more traction."