Suzuki in the provisional points on the Monte Carlo Rally
On its very first event, the Suzuki SX4 WRC of P-G Andersson has finished the third day of the Monte Carlo Rally in a provisional points-scoring place. The cars have set quick times in the top eight all day, including a brilliant fifth-fastest time from P-G Andersson on SS9. At the end of the third day of the event, Andersson is in a points-scoring seventh place but Toni Gardemeister has been forced to retire due to an overheating problem, after completing all the special stages. Today was the longest leg of the four-day event, comprising 443.26 kilometres in total and 132.78 kilometres of special stages. Both Suzuki SX4 WRCs had no major problems throughout most of the day: an excellent achievement in what is only the very start of the Suzuki World Rally Team's first full season. Tomorrow the crews face another 66.95 competitive kilometres over the legendary Col de Turini and a spectator superspecial using parts of Monaco's Grand Prix circuit, before the finish in front of the Principality's Royal Palace at 15:30.

Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):

Gardemeister had an intercom problem during the opening loop of stages, but the Finn was able to set some quick times including a sixth-fastest time on SS13. During the last stage, Gardemeister's car began to overheat. Although the crew reached the service area at the end of the day, it was not possible to trace the cause of the problem and the car was subsequently retired in order to prevent further engine damage.

Andersson's car was perfectly reliable throughout the day's six stages. The roads today were more flowing than the action yesterday, allowing the Suzuki drivers to find a good rhythm and set some impressive times. Both drivers said that they were happy with the car set-up over the challenging and bumpy mountain roads, which were mostly dry with one or two slippery patches.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister: "It's disappointing to be forced into retirement, especially considering the fact that up until the end of it today was very good. The stages were well suited to the car, and while I'm sorry not to be able to finish the event, it has been a very positive experience for me and the whole team. We need to continue working hard to further improve our speed and reliability, but I have every confidence that we will get there."

P-G Andersson: "I'm very pleased with the way that today went and I also think that I improved my driving technique a lot as well. I was doing a lot less braking today and using higher gears to carry some more momentum: that was where I made up the time. If we can carry on like this it would be fantastic, so I need to concentrate on getting to the finish now. But I have to say that today was even better than I expected."

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