Works Suzuki driver Toni Gardemeister lost his brakes in the middle of today's rally action in the western Waikato.
Finnish rally driver Toni Gardemeister has had a fraught day in his works Suzuki SX4 WRC.
In this morning’s third stage, Franklin, northwest of Hamilton, the car lost its brakes with 10 kilometres to run.
It had lost all of its hydraulic fluid, also affecting the clutch and gearshifting.
He was having difficulty keeping control, observers reporting the car was darting all over the road, even though he was going very slowly in rally terms.
“We had no brakes. I couldn’t even stop at the (end-of-stage) control. We nearly hit some people."
Gardemeister finished the first group of four stages 10th overall, 6 minutes 01.1s off the pace of the then rally leader Mikko Hirvonen.
Things improved on the first of the two long afternoon stages.
“We only had one big slide, but no other problems."
He was trying to close the gap to Ford Focus driver Federico Villagra, and achieved that on the day’s final stage at Te Akau North. He ended the day’s competition ninth overall.