Toni Gardemeister: Home story

Feature courtesy of the Suzuki World Rally Team

Q:
How would you describe yourself in two sentences?

Toni Gardemeister:
I am quite calm, silent and shy, but sometimes I'm also the opposite.
Q:
What is your favourite place in this house? (Note: The interview took place in Toni's summerhouse in Finland.)

TG:
While staying here during the summer, my favourite place is the winter garden. It is warm and cozy, and you feel like you're outside, even though you're inside the house.

Q:
Who is the most important person in your life?

TG:
To me the most important person is my girlfriend Mia.

Q:
What is your favourite destination?

TG:
My preferred destination is Northern Finland during the wintertime. It's absolutely quiet and you can hear all the various animals, especially when you are in the middle of nowhere. The atmosphere is almost indescribable.

Q:
What is the main difference between the WRC pilot and the private Toni Gardemeister?

TG:
When I'm not sitting in a rally car, I just don't think about rally at all. I focus on other things then and just live a normal life.
Q:
Where do you see yourself in five years time?

TG:
In five years I will be in the WRC top three, very close to the Champion's title, and will have achieved some good results for Suzuki.

Toni's summer residence

Valkeala is a municipality of Finland. It's located near the city of Kouvola and is a part of the Kymenlaakso Region. 143.47 km? of its entire area is water. Lake Vekaranj?rvi lies in the Valkeala Region, near which the Karelia Brigade is located. Valkeala is famous for the Repovesi National Park. From 2009 on, the six municipalities - Kouvola, Kuusankoski, Elim?ki, Anjalankoski, Valkeala and Jaala - will be merged into the new municipality of Kouvola with a population of over 80 000, which makes it the 10th largest city in Finland.

County: Valkeala
Province: Southern Finland
Coordinates: 60? 56? 20 N, 26? 47? 50 E
Area: 1,004.40 km?
Population: 11,238
Density: 13.1/km?
Website: www.valkeala.fi

Additional quotes

"My favourite hobbies are going out for a walk with my dogs and for a drive in my BMW M3 Group F. I participated in three rallies and won all of them with this car. I bought the car 2004 in Italy, drove it to Finland and started to rebuild it. I spent a few hundred hours working on it. Some spare parts are still waiting for their assembly. During my summer holiday I will definitely spend some time with that. Now it has a 3-liter engine and 295 horse power. But up to 400 hp are possible."

"My dogs Rollo, Pummi and Tico are good fun. But I always have to go out separately with them. Pummi and Tico get along very well with each other. But Rollo hates other dogs. Therefore we always have to take him for a walk on his own."

"The track through the forest which I use for my exercises nowadays, used to be a rally track. Actually it was the first special stage of the first rally I participated in. That was back in 1993. I was driving an Opel Ascona B."

"I was born about 20 km away from here. This was one of the beaches closest to my town, so I came here with my parents. When I was older, I came here first by bicycle, and then, later with a small motorbike. I've been here for barbecues as well. Actually having barbecues is very common in Finland. As soon as the first warm days are here, everyone takes out their grills. On the weekends most people are usually out, grilling something, somewhere."

Feature courtesy of the Suzuki World Rally Team