Suzuki enjoys a strong day in the Turkish sunshine

Both Suzuki drivers Toni Gardemeister and P-G Andersson enjoyed a thrilling day on the Turkish stages, as they hurled their SX4 WRCs along some of the twistiest and roughest roads around. Andersson moved into the top 10 on the fourth stage and remained there with some stunning times - including fourth fastest on the day's penultimate test. He only slipped out of the top 10 when a suspension problem cost him time on the final stage. He starts tomorrow's second day in 12th place. Gardemeister's day proved to be among the most physically challenging of his entire world rally career. The Finn suffered the agony of a dislocated shoulder on stage six, but battled on to end the day in ninth position. Gardemeister ended his day on a high setting fifth fastest time, just 1.9 seconds slower than four-times world champion Sebastien Loeb on the day's final stage.

Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Toni Gardemeister's SX4 WRC ran without any technical faults through the opening day's nine stages. Gardemeister's only car-related problem came with a puncture on the day's opening test. The sister Suzuki of P-G Andersson was hit by a minor hydraulic glitch for two mid-day stages and then suffered broken suspension for the majority of SS9.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister: "About five kilometres from the end of the stage [SS6] I was turning in a right-hand hairpin. I hit a rock and the steering wheel was ripped out of my hand; the impact dislocated my left shoulder. The pain was incredible. The shoulder went back in after a couple of seconds. The doctor worked on my shoulder in service and it wasn't so bad in the last two stages. It was really good to come through the last stage with a good time."

P-G Andersson: "I felt really happy with the car today. The handling was good after we had made some changes with the dampers ahead of this event. On the whole, the times we have set today have been very good. We had a puncture and a small hydraulic problem this afternoon, but otherwise the car has run without any problems. The last but one stage of the day was really good, we set fourth fastest time and we still weren't taking big risks. But then on the last stage, the rally hit us back. We dropped some time with a broken suspension part. That was a disappointing way to end what has otherwise been a great day in the SX4 WRC."

Team news:
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: "Our objective for this event is the same as it was for Greece: to get cars to the finish. From that perspective, it's been another good day. We haven't seen the SX4 WRC running at under half a second per kilometre slower than the lead car before today and I have to say I'm really pleased with that. We know what risks the guys are taking at the front and we know what risks our guys are doing to set these times. This is a good pace, but there's more to come from Suzuki."

Day 1 Leaderboard
1. S Loeb/D Elena 2h02m35.2s
2. H Solberg/C Menkerud +1.0s
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila +1.1s
4. G Galli/G Bernacchini +2.2s
5. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen +6.9s
6. P Solberg/P Mills +49.1s
7. M Wilson/S Martin +1m05.9s
8. D Sordo/M Marti +1m06.8s
9. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen +2m27.0s
10. C Rautenbach/D Senior +2m50.0s

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