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Suzuki: This proves we`re going in right direction

Suzuki World Rally team director Shusuke Inagaki has hailed the teams five-six finish on the Pioneer Rally Japan last weekend as proof everything is 'heading in the right direction'.

Although Suzuki has scored points on several occasions this season - its first year at the top level - and Toni Gardemeister and Per-Gunnar Andersson have both shown good pace with the SX4 WRC, the team has struggled at times.

Indeed this has led to unconfirmed rumours that the manufacturer could pull the plug at the end of 2008 and take a sabbatical in 2009. As such this result could not have been better timed, especially as it came on home territory.

"We are all very proud of the achievements of the Suzuki World Rally Team here at home in Japan," said Inagaki. "An important thing to remember is that the rally route was brand new for this year, which meant that nobody started with any real advantage in terms of experience.

"This proves that when the conditions are equal, we can fight with some of the frontrunners. Of course we still have a long way to go and much to learn. But this is the clearest indication yet that everything is heading in the right direction."

Gardemeister and Andersson both figured strongly throughout the three-days in Sapporo and the latter was especially impressive - posting eleven top five times on days two and three, including four second best efforts.

Indeed despite a puncture on SS16, which cost him over two minutes, P-G charged back from ninth to take fifth at the finish - the highest result yet with the Suzuki SX4 WRC.

"I've really enjoyed this event and I hope that we've given all the Suzuki fans here something to remember," said the Swede. "The car has been completely reliable and without the time we lost to stop and change a puncture yesterday, I think we could have been even closer to the leaders.

"This rally shows that all the hard work and development we have put in over the course of the year really works and it is a very encouraging sign for the future. After struggling a bit on the asphalt rallies, my confidence is back to full strength."



Related Pictures

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Toni Gardemeister (FIN) Tomi Tuominen (FIN) Suzuki SX4 WRC
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Fabio Andolfi (ITA) Manuel Fenoli (ITA) HYUNDAI i20 R5, ACI TEAM ITALIA
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
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21.05.2017 - TEEMU SUNINEN (FIN) - MIKKO MARKKULA (FIN) FORD FIESTA R5, M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - JEAN-MICHEL RAOUX (FRA) - THOMAS ESCARTEFIGUE (FRA) CITROEN DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - Valeriy Gorban (UKR)-Sergei Larens (EST) BMW‐Mini John Cooper Works, Eurolamp World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Essapeka Lappi (FIN) Janne Ferm (FIN), TOYOTA YARIS WRC, TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT

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