Toni Gardemeister has finished the opening day of the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse in seventh place despite battling a flu-type illness that left him with 'spaghetti' legs!

Gardemeister moved up into the points in the third stage of the day and then held that position during the repeat loop in the afternoon, finishing proceedings 2.5 seconds up on Andreas Mikkelsen's Ramsport Ford Focus in eighth.

"The biggest problem I had today was the fact that I was feeling really ill for most of it," said the Suzuki driver. "I had a very sore throat and during the afternoon my legs felt like spaghetti!

"Under those circumstances it's quite difficult to drive flat-out, but I did my best and we are not in a bad position overnight.

"The car today has been very good and so we've ended up in the points, which is great.

"Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better and we will continue to move up the leaderboard."

Per-Gunnar Andersson meanwhile concluded day one in twelfth in the sister SX4 WRC, albeit only 10.5 seconds off his team-mate.

"After going off the road in Catalunya, it was important for me to try and get my confidence back so I wasn't pushing so hard today," the Swede added.

"We steadily improved the car and I'm happy with the progress we made, after I carried out a few small suspension adjustments at service. The roads today were really tricky and surprisingly slippery, but now that I have a good feeling with the car I can push hard tomorrow."

Suzuki team director Shusuke Inagaki was pleased with the way they have started the event: "Once more, our SX4 WRC has been perfectly reliable all day. Toni has done a fantastic job to finish provisionally in the drivers' points at the end of the opening leg, despite his illness.

"As for P-G, he has built up confidence without putting a foot wrong and so he is now in the manufacturer points. To have two Suzukis in points-scoring positions at the end of such a tough first day is a solid achievement, and now we hope to build on this promising start over the rest of the weekend," he summed-up.



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