Suzuki team boss Nobuhiro Tajima has vowed that 'his' team will bounce back from their double retirement on the opening day of the Corona Rally Mexico.

Per-Gunnar Andersson and Toni Gardemeister were both forced out on leg 1 with engine problems. P-G was the first to go when he noticed a loss of power on his way back to the first service in Leon. The Swede, who had been running sixth overall, having set top-eight times on all three opening stages, made it back, but it was decided that he would not re-start so that the engine could be returned to the factory for analysis.

Gardemeister, who had struggled with an intermittent throttle in the morning and lost over 18 minutes, started the repeat loop in the afternoon but didn't get far and stopped a few kilometres into SS4.

Neither will rejoin the fold on Saturday and the engines of both cars will now be flown back to Japan for detailed examination.

"I feel so very sorry for both of our drivers, especially Toni who was starting his 100th WRC rally here. This was an incredibly disappointing experience for all of us. As was the case in Monte Carlo and Sweden, we have been stopped by an engine problem and we suspect that it is for a similar reason, although we will only know for sure once we fully examine the cars," said Tajima.

"It's clear that we have an issue with the engines, but under the current engine linking regulations we are not permitted to change the engine during or in between the rallies to try and understand the problem. As a new team we want to and we need to improve: but sometimes this is not easy when the rules are not in your favour as a newcomer.

"It was always going to be tough for us here. Toni did not really have a chance today, but until his retirement P-G was again doing a fantastic job for us. The potential is still very much there and we all have confidence that we will bounce back from this disappointment."

Andersson meanwhile added that in his view another points' finish was definitely a strong possibility for the Japanese manufacturer.

"The fact that we were sixth when we stopped just goes to show the potential of the whole SX4 WRC package. We had a very good run through the morning's stages, although the suspension set-up was a little too hard. Considering that we had no testing before the event, I think it was really good," he continued.

"Unfortunately we then had an engine problem, and this is something that we need to sort out. Once that is done though, we will be in a good position. I'm quite confident that we could have taken points here."

 

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