The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team completed October's trio of asphalt rallies today in good shape with the Fabia WRC consistently improving its performance.

On an exceptionally difficult final day in Spain, Toni Gardemeister battled through heavy rain to take 12th place, setting four top ten times on the final six stages.

Gardemeister's day though got off to a dramatic start. He said: "I reached the first stage and realised that I had a puncture. Paavo [Lukander] and I changed it with just 10 seconds to spare and then I stalled the car on the start line!

"The rain was really bad, much worse than we expected, and my tyres were too hard for the first three stages. Softer tyres were the right choice and that was clear from my times when we made the second run over the same stages. There was a lot of running water on the final stage so I had to be careful. Otherwise I could have been even faster."

Despite problems with his tyre choice, Gardemeister still managed to set ninth fastest time on today's second stage, well clear of many established cars.

Once he had fitted the right tyres, the Finn went even better on the final three stages. He set eighth fastest time on the first of the three, an incredible fourth fastest time on the second and seventh on the final stage.

With the asphalt events now behind us and with just next month's gravel Rally GB left in this season's championship, Director of Skoda Motorsport Petr Kohoutek said: "We can look back at the three asphalt rallies in October with satisfaction.

"We achieved everything we set out to do. Unfortunately the gap between events was too short for us to implement everything we learned but it had given us a strong platform for the future."



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