Suzuki is prepared to embark on their first ever full World Rally Championship season, with Finish driver Toni Gardemeister and Swedish driver Per-Gunnar Andersson helming the team.
Suzuki is prepared to embark on their first ever full World Rally Championship season, with Finish driver Toni Gardemeister and Swedish driver Per-Gunnar Andersson helming the team. After running in the Corsica and Great Britain rally races last year, the team is ready to go for the 2008 competition. Andersson won the Junior Rally Championship in a Suzuki Swift 1600 last year.
Starting with the Monte Carlo Rally this week, Suzuki will be vying for a a top slot in each of the 15 rally races this year. Awards for the Monte Carlo will be presented on Sunday. Suzuki has ran the race in Monte Carlo six times, but only in the Junior class. This will be their first run in the historic WRC event.
Each of the rally teams will use Pirelli control tires with the same tread pattern and compound. If needed, drivers may cut the tires by hand to help them race on water and gravel. Short studs can also be used, since icy roads are not uncommon in this race.
Suzuki is also running two cars in the same race for the first time ever. They are expected to do so for the entire season, barring any unforseen incidents.
Driver Toni Gardmeister played down the team's chances of winning, saying, "It’s fantastic for me to be back in the World Championship with Suzuki, and if things go well for us in Monte Carlo I think we can come away with points. The car is still new, so we’re not going to be on the pace of the frontrunners yet, but the overall set-up and reliability is good."