Suzuki has gone for a blend of experience and youth in its driver line-up for its first forway into the full World Rally Championship.
Suzuki has signed Scandinavian drivers, Toni Gardemeister and Per-Gunnar Andersson, to drive its Suzuki SX4 WRC in the 2008 World Rally Championship.
The team makes its first outing at the Monte Carlo Rally on January 24.
“Toni is one of the world’s best rally drivers with a wide experience on gravel, asphalt, snow and ice, but also with superb testing skills,” says the president of Suzuki Sport and principal of the Suzuki World Rally Team, Nobuhiro (Monster) Tajima.
“And with PG, the first and only person to win the Junior Rally Championship title two times – in a Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 in 2004, this year with the Suzuki Swift Super 1600 –, we are continuing a close and very successful partnership.
“Together with their co-drivers Tomi and Jonas they form a very strong unit, enabling us to push the car’s development and take the SX4 WRC to its next level.”
Gardemeister says he’s sure that “we have to work very hard together, but that we will have a great future.”
Andersson says it will be his first year in the WRC, “so there are many things to learn. I have been in the Suzuki family for four years now and know the team’s exceptional capability.”
For Suzuki the WRC entry is one of the most important initiatives for the corporation’s automobile division in recent years, providing technical feedback, which will assist in the development of future road cars.